During the last decade of his life, Andy Warhol (1928–1987), was never without his Minox 35EL camera. Warhol often used photographs as the basis for commissioned portraits, silkscreen paintings, drawings, and prints. His numerous photographs also served to document his daily life—from the mundane to the celebrities that formed his milieu—in a visual analogue to the artist’s diaries, which were tape-recorded phone conversations.
The Cantor Arts Center acquired the Andy Warhol Photography Archive from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in 2014. The collection of 3,600 contact sheets and corresponding negatives represents the complete range of Warhol’s black-and-white photographic practice from 1976 until his unexpected death in 1987. The Andy Warhol Photography Archive builds on the Cantor’s collection of Warhol’s original Polaroid photographs and gelatin silver prints, acquired through The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program in 2007.
Warhol only printed about 17 percent of his 130,000 exposures. His marks, an X or a circle visible on his printed contact sheets, indicate those images that he selected to print. Together, Warhol’s negatives, contact sheets, and photographic prints bring to life the artist’s many interactions with the social and celebrity elite of his time through portraits and candid photographs of stars. This body of work also documents his fascination with the gay culture of the 1970s and ‘80s and includes photographs of drag queens, Fire Island parties, and examples of the artist's rarely seen, sexually explicit images. The outcome of a two-and-a-half year digitization project, the entire collection of negatives and contact sheets are available here on the Cantor’s website. The contact sheets are also discoverable through the Stanford University Libraries system.
Click on Contact Sheets below to explore all 3,600+ contact sheets in the archive.
Click on Negatives below and then on a contact sheet to display individual frames at the bottom of the page.
Get a closer look by clicking on an individual frame to enlarge it.
Spotlight at Stanford
Click above to view a digital exhibition of the contact sheets at Spotlight at Stanford and zoom in on individual frames or browse by category.