When Warhol met William Kennedy: Warhol Museum's limited edition portraits

Kennedy captures the artist's private side



The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, is launching its first limited-edition portfolio of photographs this week in Miami Beach; the private event is due to take place at the former Versace mansion today. The box set, which costs $40,000, comes in an edition of 50 and comprises five signed photographs of Warhol taken by William John Kennedy in 1964. The two artists met the year before, when Kennedy was an aspiring photographer. “He was a strikingly handsome young man, and his talents and looks were enough to keep him of interest to Warhol,” says Eric Shiner, the director of the Warhol museum. “They developed a friendship and he was able to capture a side of Andy that few people knew.”

The five works have been selected from 100 signed and numbered photographs from the Kennedy archives that will be given to the museum early next year by the Kiwi Arts Group, the publisher that represents Kennedy. “They approached us, and as soon as we saw the photographs we were blown away, so we started discussions about how to use them as a new source of funding for the museum,” Shiner says, adding that the artist will receive 10% of the gross profits, with the net profits split between the museum (60%) and Kiwi (40%). Shiner hopes the museum will produce other limited-edition works. “I prefer this model to the silent auction or charity fundraising event—this way, the artist gets recompense as well,” he says.