Celebrities and Socialites Photographs by Andy Warhol

Celebrities and Socialites Photographs by Andy Warhol

Beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the 80s, Andy Warhol created thousands of photographs and Polaroids which often served as a basis for his silk-screens and drawings. Warhol, the foremost figure of American Pop art, is best known for his images of consumer products such as Campbell’s Soup Cans, Brillo Pads and for silk-screen portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

The University of Maine Museum of Art is one of the fortunate institutions to receive a group of these rarely-seen photographs through the generosity of the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In 2007 The Foundation’s Photographic Legacy Program donated over 28,000 Warhol images to 180 college and university museums across the country.

Celebrities and Socialites features Polaroids of actress Farrah Fawcett, veteran golfer Jack Nicklaus, Margaret Hamilton costumed as the Wicked Witch and Ric Ocasek, front-man for 80s band The Cars. Individuals who posed for Warhol ranged from the rich and famous to the little-known. Sitters were subjected to Warhol’s careful positioning, the use of often exaggerated makeup, and sessions which occasionally resulted in over 100 images. Warhol captured his subjects using a Polaroid Big Shot, a plastic camera with a fixed focal length lens that provided a high contrast look that the artist enjoyed.

Warhol’s black and white images were shot with a Minolta SLR and served to document the artist’s life of partying, travel and his fascination with commonplace subjects and settings. Celebrities and Socialites provides a look into Warhol’s lesser known body of work and sheds new light on the importance of photography in the artist’s creative process.

Related Events: UMaine Museum of Art Fashion Challenge


Ric Ocasek , April 1980

Farrah Fawcett , 1979

All images:
© The Andy Warhol Foundation
for the Visual Arts, Inc.