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Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987)
LOT ID: 80135
Photogaph of Steve Rubell for Interview Magazine, ie. circa 1979

Polaroid
4.25 х 3.5 in. (10.8 x 8.89 cm.)
Unsigned
Edition UNIQUE
Foundry/Publisher Andy Warhol
Lot description
This is Andy Warhol's famous vintage photograph of the legendary New York nightlife impresario Steve Rubell, founder of Warhol's favorite disco, Studio 54 in Manhattan. Andy Warhol took this photograph when Rubell was chosen to appear on the cover of Interview magazine in 1979 - at the height of his fame and notoriety. It has superb provenance as it was the star lot in the widely publicized sale of Steve Rubell's estate. In fact, this very polaroid was featured on a front page article in the "Arts" section of the New York Times on this historic sale entitled "Selling Some Old Sparkle from Nights at Studio 54" and it was widely reproduced in national press stories and morning television programs - many also featuring this image as the star lot.

The Steve Rubell Studio 54 auction was such a smashing success, it was what is called in the trade a rare "white glove" sale, where every single lot -- bar none -- sold. For days, people who missed the sale telephoned the auction house asking if anything was left to buy; there was none. A follow-up article in the Miami Herald, describing the buying fever that day, explained, "Many of the 400 people who attended the auction — their number triples when bidders following by telephone or the Internet — were still in a disco daze over disco days...the record albums may have been vinyl and the photos Polaroid, but the prices at Saturday’s auction of memorabilia from the storied 1970s New York disco Studio 54 were strictly the stuff of naughty-oughty hedge funds and real-estate bubbles..."

Rubell died in 1989 of AIDS, but his collection of 1970s Studio 54 memoribilia, including this iconic, rare original photograph taken by Andy Warhol, had never come to market prior to now. It is a marvelous memento of the 1970s disco era -- and a reminder of the man behind the famously discriminating parties -- with Brooke Shields, Raquel Welch, Grace Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Calvin Klein, Muhammad Ali and Lillian Carter. (Remember her?) Rubell's former lover, who held on to this photograph for a quarter century, shed new light about the enigmatic nightlife impresario in a recent interview with the New York Times: "He really just wanted you to have a good time, period. Whatever it cost, he always picked up the bill."

If you missed this original Andy Warhol photograph of Steve Rubell in the Studio 54 sale, don't miss it now, as the opportunity may never come around again. In fine vintage condition.
Photogaph of Steve Rubell for Interview Magazine by Andy Warhol
  • Photogaph of Steve Rubell for Interview Magazine by Andy Warhol
  • Photogaph of Steve Rubell for Interview Magazine by Andy Warhol
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