de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Donor Profile: Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program

Andy Warhol was one of the most influential artists of the late 20th century. His photographs, drawings, silkscreen paintings, films, and other works defined the Pop Art movement, and he blended the worlds of music, acting, fashion, media, and celebrity in his work. Upon his death in 1987, his will indicated his entire estate was to be used to establish a foundation dedicated to the "advancement of the visual arts." The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has fulfilled that mission through exhibitions, grants, loans, and gifts of art to numerous institutions in the interest of promoting Warhol's artistic legacy and encouraging artistic production and scholarship.

The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program celebrated the Foundation's 20th Anniversary through the donation of more than 28,500 photographs by Warhol to educational institutions throughout the United States. These photographs included a variety of subjects in both Polaroid and gelatin silver prints: portraits, party snapshots, still lifes, nudes. Many of the photographs were used as the basis for his portrait commissions and other painting ideas. More than 180 college and university art institutions received these works in an effort to broaden access to Warhol's work.

The photographs given to the de Saisset Museum include 157 works featuring subjects from the 1970s and 1980s. Well known subjects include Princess Caroline of Monaco, Bianca Jagger, Wayne Gretzky, Henry Geldzahler, and Dweezil Zappa. 

Jenny Moore, curator of the Photographic Legacy Program, notes, "A wealth of information about Warhol's process and his interactions with his sitters is revealed in these images. Through his rigorous—though almost unconscious—consistency in shooting, the true idiosyncrasies of his subjects were revealed. Often, he would shoot a person or event with both cameras, cropping one in Polaroid color as a 'photograph' and snapping the other in black-and-white as a 'picture.' By presenting both kinds of images side by side, the Photographic Legacy Program allows viewers to move back and forth between moments of Warhol's 'art,' 'work,' and 'life'—inseparable parts of a fascinating world."

The de Saisset Museum is very grateful to the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program for the opportunity to enrich the photography collection and share these images with our audiences.