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June 21, 2023

A Series of Polaroid Portraits of Jean-Michel Basquiat Taken by Andy Warhol in 1982

On October 4, 1982, Andy Warhol turned his Polaroid camera on Jean-Michel Basquiat for a series of portraits of the young artist. At the end of the session, Basquiat requested a portrait with Warhol who stepped into the frame and assumed the now famous pose seen here.

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait with Basquiat, October 4, 1982.

Of the Polaroids Warhol took that day, this is the only one where Basquiat is seen grinning from ear to ear. Warhol gave the double portrait to Basquiat who then quickly returned to his studio with the still-developing print in hand, pinned it to his wall and created Dos Cabezas, a rendering of the double portrait painted in his characteristic visual language.

Warhol recalled the day in his diary: “Down to meet Bruno Bischofberger (cab $7.50). He brought Jean-Michel Basquiat with him. He’s the kid who used the name ‘Samo’ when he used to sit on the sidewalk in Greenwich Village and paint T-shirts ... And so had lunch for them and then I took a Polaroid and he went home and within two hours a painting was back, still wet, of him and me together.”

That day, immortalized in these two iconic works of art, marked the beginning of a friendship and artistic collaboration that would shape the course of Basquiat’s short career while providing Warhol a heralded final chapter of his. Days after their meeting, Basquiat gave the Polaroid to his close friend Anna Taylor. The surface features of the object are artifacts of this celebrated first encounter.


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