Andy Warhol's superstars

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Andy Warhol, the father of pop art, enjoyed a complicated relationship with the women in his life. While he idolised many of his iconic muses - and they, the "superstars" of his Factory studio, adored him - he has also been portrayed as a controlling misogynist; the man whom feminist writer Valerie Solanas infamously shot in the chest after a row over a script in 1968. What's for certain is that he was drawn to headstrong, unconventional and expressive women who weren't afraid to be themselves.

On the 25th anniversary of Warhol's death, we look at some of the key women in his life, with photos of both the muses themselves and the art they inspired. Click on to delve into the world of Warhol's divas...

Picture credit: Rex Features and Getty Images

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Grace Jones

    "It seems like you have to do lots of things really well, and you don't get to stay famous for long unless you're always switching. Grace Jones is an example of this," Warhol once said of his most flamboyant muse.

    Warhol was drawn to Jones' flagrant disregard for convention and chameleonic quality; when he photographed her for Vogue in 1984, he spent three hours waiting while the actress/singer/model retrieved her furs.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Marilyn Monroe

    Warhol was enchanted by Marilyn Monroe and this natural fascination led to his most famous and celebrated works.

    It was not just Marilyn herself that Warhol loved (he was said to be shocked by her 1962 suicide) but also her relationship with fame and celebrity, explaining the Saint-like elements inherent within many of his prints of her.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Cheryl Tiegs

    Sports Illustrated model Cheryl Tiegs was a close friend of Warhol's and sat for him on a number of occasions in the 1970s and early 80s.

    "I think Andy was fascinated by my public image as the all-American girl, and it certainly is very fresh and sweet, yet sultry, in retrospect," she told Stylist.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Elizabeth Taylor

    Warhol's prediction that "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes" proved short-sighted for Elizabeth Taylor, who reigned supreme in the limelight for her entire life and beyond.

    The ultimate Hollywood superstar posed for 12 portraits by Warhol in the early 1960s - one of which sold for £11.4million in 2007. Warhol sends Taylor "a big kiss" in this affectionate line drawing.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Cornelia Guest

    New York socialite and "Deb of the Decade" Cornelia Guest spent her youth dallying with Andy Warhol ; she first met him aged four and would visit the Factory with her mother.

    Very much one of Warhol's darlings, she told Stylist, "I remained close to Andy Warhol from my childhood right up until he died."

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Jackie Kennedy

    Warhol found Jackie Kennedy an irresistible subject, and in late 1963 began producing prints of her as a grieving widow - epitomising the icon of tragedy she had become in national conscientiousness at the time.

    Their relationship was close and a few years ago, archivists discovered a signed nude photo of Jackie O among Warhol's belongings which she likely sent to him as a joke.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Joan Collins

    Warhol first met Joan Collins in the mid-1980s and went onto create a string of prints and portraits of the actress - one of which resides on the wall of her LA apartment.

    "He said, 'I like to shoot with lots of hair. Lots and lots of hair!' so I backcombed it. He also asked me to take off my dress and sit in a towel so he could see my shoulders, but I was too cold, so I just pulled my plaid dress down," she told Stylist.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Nico

    Model Nico (bottom centre) captivated Warhol when the two first met in the 1960s. He put her together with rock group The Velvet Underground, later making the film The Velvet Underground And Nico: A Symphony Of Sound.

    Nico hung around at the Factory a lot at the time and appeared in two more Warhol films, The Chelsea Girls and Imitation of Christ.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Viva

    Viva introduced herself to Warhol at an art gallery in 1962, while working as a fashion illustrator and went onto star in a number of his films.

    According to him, Viva "had a face that was so striking you had the choice of whether to call her beautiful or ugly. I happened to love the way she looked, and I was impressed with all the references she kept dropping to literature and politics... She talked constantly, and it was the most tiresome voice I’d ever heard - it was incredible to me that one woman’s voice could convey so much tedium."

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Yoko Ono

    Warhol was close friends with both John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with a series of intimate photos documenting their bond.

    Yoko Ono was one of the speakers at Warhol's funeral in 1987 and her art project My Mommy is Beautiful featured at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, PA, last year.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Diane von Furstenberg

    Diane von Furstenberg schmoozed with Warhol in the 1970s and 80s and portrayed by him in larger-than-life detail in one of his iconic portraits.

    Many years later, in 2008, the designer collaborated with The Andy Warhol Foundation on a swimwear collection featuring his prints.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Liza Minnelli

    Warhol's love of Liza Minnelli represented his wider obsession with fame and the transience of celebrity and taste.

    The two were very close in the 1970s and 80s, with Warhol using Polaroid’s of Minnelli - with her defined features and heavy make-up - as perfect inspiration for his silkscreen prints.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Edie Sedgwick

    Of all Warhol's Factory muses, socialite and heiress Edie Wedgwick, whom he met in 1965, arguably held the greatest bond with the artist.

    "The fascination I experienced was probably very close to a certain kind of love," he once said. Sienna Miller embodied Edie for 2006 flick Factory Girl, with Guy Pearce in the role of Warhol.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Debbie Harry

    Little wonder blonde bombshell and Blondie star Debbie Harry caught Warhol's eye.

    His 1980s portait of the singer was hailed by a Sotheby's auctioneer as "the ultimate culmination of Warhol's exploration of our public fascination with female cultural icons."

    "I bumped into Andy on Broadway and 13th street and said hello and we chatted about everything. I suppose this is how we met and our friendship grew from there. I got invited to the factory and knew others that worked for Andy," Debbie Harry said of her first meeting with Warhol.

  • Andy Warhol's superstars: Chelsea Girls

    Andy Warhol's 1966 film Chelsea Girls was set in New York and starred many of his muses - who, although they played an important part in the Factory studio, were less famous than the artist's celebrity subjects.

    Among them were actresses Brigid Berlin and Mary Woronov, both Factory staples in the mid-1960s.

    "My fierce demeanor and gender flipping fascinated Warhol. I was very strong, young, gorgeous, and acted like Nero," Mary Woronov once said.


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