Andy Warhol

(American, 1928-87)

Collection of fifty gelatin silver prints, ca. 1975-85

Gelatin silver prints; 8 x 10 inches

Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., Photographic Legacy Project, 2008

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

Public Art UHS owns a collection of fifty silver gelatin prints by Andy Warhol. This corpus provides one of the few places in Warhol’s artistic output where we are able to witness a rare touch of authenticity between the artist and the subject. Away from chasing colorful, glittering starlets, these black and white images were not instantaneous—like his ubiquitous Polaroids, of which Public Art also has a fine set—but required patience and carried with them an anticipation.

Andy Warhol’s candid black and white photographs are a perfect contrast to the glittering Polaroids. The black and white snapshots appear as a casual diary of his everyday life, less precious, more vernacular, and sometimes reserved for his most intimate moments. Empty Chair is a quiet, philosophical musing that immediately invokes his earlier electric chair series. China, Street Scene from 1982 is a rare instance of Warhol traveling beyond New York City, where a strange confluence of Western hyper-capitalism meets an Eastern shifting communism. Perhaps least expected, we witness time spent with his companion Jon Gould where Warhol’s usual cold gaze softens and becomes nearly familial. One particular image, Jon Gould with Unidentified Infant, betrays colorful clichés, to reveal a desperately shy, awkward artist.

While the Polaroids seem to achieve the distance Warhol was seeking in his artistic output, the black and white images inject a sense of familiarity and casualness that the artist is not commonly known for. By his later years, Warhol would take a roll of black and white film per day. In these later black and white images, Warhol quickly transverses genres from street scenes to architectural facades, from still lifes to children’s portraits, creating an archive of photographs that reach far beyond the enchantment with celebrity. Through these simple, everyday occasions seen in black and white, we are able to glimpse the man behind the machine. 

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


Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

Instantaneous Beauty: Andy Warhol and the Photographic Process | Exhibition

Spring 2022 exhibition presented at the O’Kane Gallery, UHD and the UCHL Art Gallery.

Andy Warhol | Process and Memory

March 9, 2022 | Virtual conversation featuring artist Jamie Wyeth and filmmaker and art promoter Vincent Fremont, moderated by María C. Gaztambide, PhD, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art UHS.

Warhol Photos | Access

Public Art UHS’ collection of Andy Warhol photographs is held at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections. Learn about access here.

Andy Warhol | Research

Access a variety of resources related to Public Art UHS’ collection of Andy Warhol photographs.

Andy Warhol | Spotlight

July 2021 | Read about the man and the machine, Andy Warhol, photography and everyday life. 

Other Artworks by this Artist

Andy Warhol | Polaroids

Collection of ninety-nine Polaroids, ca. 1975-85.