Artist Andy Warhol, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1928, became one of the most emblematic and influential New Yorkers of the 20th century. A star student at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology, he arrived in New York City in 1949 and established himself as a talented advertising illustrator. His first home in the City was a small apartment at 1342 Lexington Avenue.
Warhol quickly ascended to the top of New York’s art world and by the 1960s his paintings, sculptures, prints, posters, photographs, films and writings were ubiquitous and highly desirable. He produced much of his work at a succession of studios he called “the Factory.” The first was located at 231 East 47th Street; then 33 Union Square West and finally 860 Broadway.
Warhol was famous for turning up at almost every social event, club, and “happening” of his era. He also turns up in the Municipal Archives. Unfortunately, he first appears in connection with the June 4, 1968 attempt on his life. NYPD crime scene detectives photographed the 33 Union Square West “Factory” after the writer Valerie Solanas shot Warhol in the stomach. A bullet also grazed Mario Amaya, a visiting art critic from London. Seriously wounded, Warhol took more than a year to return to his career. Some biographers say he never really recovered.
Warhol’s next appearance in the Municipal Archives is a more serene event documented in the Mayor Koch photograph collection. On April 5, 1983, Warhol appeared with Koch and Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden holding the poster he designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Legendary for his success in the art market, Warhol was also savvy about New York real estate. By the late 1950s he was successful enough to move to a townhouse at 57 E. 66th Street where he lived until his death in 1987.
Andy Warhol died at age 58, on February 22, 1987, of complications following a gall-bladder operation. He is buried in Pennsylvania. In 1989 the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awarded $25,000 to the Municipal Archives in support of a project to duplicate the 1940 tax photos.