Helmut Newton, Andy Warhol in Paris, 1977


Helmut Newton (Australian, b. Germany, 1920-2004), Andy Warhol in Paris, 1977. Gelatin Silver Print, 12 3/8 x 8 3/16 in. Gift of Dr. Kristaps J. Keggi, 1983.62.10

In this unconventional celebrity portrait, Andy Warhol dressed in the shiny black of an enveloping trench coat lies back against a frame of cushions with his eyes closed and his jaw relaxed. The image unsettles portrait conventions by positioning its live subject as if asleep or even dead and situating us as viewers in voyeuristic intimacy. This photograph appeared on the cover of the first issue of Helmut Newton Illustrated with the title “Sex and Power.” The juxtaposition of this photograph with the magazine title further disrupts our viewing relation to celebrity. The camera angle puts the viewer in an eroticized position of power, hovering over the coffin-like sofa or bed and on top of a prone and passive Warhol.