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Andy Warhol, Invitation to Andy Warhol Memorial Lunch, from the Estate of Tim Hunt, Warhol Foundation curator, 1987
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Invitation Card to Andy Warhol Memorial Lunch, from the Estate of Tim Hunt, 1987
Offset lithograph card
6 1/2 × 3 3/5 inches
This invitation to the private memorial lunch for Andy Warhol is an historic collectors item. Few people in the world own this card other than those who were invited to the event and/or their heirs, though it has occasionally appeared at public auction now that another generation has passed. This offset lithograph invitation card to Andy Warhol's Memorial Lunch at the Diamond Horseshoe in the Paramount Hotel bears an image of Andy Warhol's iconic 1967 Marilyn on one side, and on the other side is an announcement that reads as follows:
A Memorial Lunch
Wednesday, April 1, 1987
The Diamond Horseshoe
235 West 46th Street
New York City
Special thanks to:
All leftover food and flowers will be donated to the homeless program at Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Marilyn - Andy Warhol 1967
The provenance of this card is impressive as it comes from the estate of Warhol Foundation curator and sales agent Tim Hunt, who was married to bestselling author Tama Janowitz, author of "Slaves of New York" . Tama would describe how she met Tim Hunt as follows: "Andy Warhol died in 1987. In the long hot summer after, I bought a tiny basement apartment on West 70th Street over by West End Ave. That’s when I met Tim Hunt. A model for Werther’s Caramel and Ralph Lauren who’d gone to Oxford and had a brother who was a famous race car driver, he’d been with Christie’s a few years and had come over from England to work on the Warhol estate. He would later become my husband. Andy would have loved Tim. But the two had never met..."
The event is the more exclusive Memorial Lunch on April 1st 1987, held prior to Warhol's Memorial Mass at St. John the Divine, later that evening, the latter of which was attended by thousands of people. The press referred to this earlier event as a "Special Memorial Lunch Party" - using the vernacular of the day, as everything in the mid to late 1980s seemed like a party - until it was not. Interestingly, no start time, or even time range, is mentioned on this invitation - something that is rarely if ever missing from such an item; further evidence that it wasn't enough just to get this card; one had to already be in the know to be able to attend. Either that, or the lunch party was going on all day - so invitees could show up whenever they wanted. Or, alternatively, it was simply an accidental omission with no hidden message. And another side note: one of the sponsors of this Memorial luncheon, Carillon Importers, is the holding company or importer for Absolut Vodka, which commissioned Andy Warhol to create a series of advertising ads that would comprise one of the most successful, award-winning advertising campaigns of the era - and the most successful of the company's history. Who attended this event? Probably everybody who was anybody in the nexis of art, celebrity, high fashion and big business. Getty images features photographs by celebrity paparazzo Ron Galella of some of Warhol pals entering or leaving the Diamond Horseshoe for this exclusive event including Dianne Brill and Baby Jane Holzer ("It" party girls and Warhol muses, respectively), artists Keith Haring and Claes Oldenburg, Paul Morrissey (Warhol's close friend and director of his movies), actor Vincent Spano (mentioned in Warhol's diaries), Richard Gere, Sylvia Martins, Lou Reed, Glenn O'Brien, John Giorno, Tina Chow & Patti D'Arbanville, Kelly Klein, Calvin Klein & Bianca Jagger, Beverly Johnson, socialite Claus Von Bulow [by that time having already been acquitted of murdering his wife Sunny, thanks to his lawyer Alan Dershowitz - yes, you read that correctly.), Pat Ast and Bobby Zarem (legendary 1980s publicist.) These were some of the more high profile celebrities of the era, but no doubt there were many other Warhol friends and business associates. By the time Warhol died in 1987, the Diamond Horseshoe in the basement of the Paramount Hotel, the venue for this Memorial lunch party, located in Manhattan's theatre district, had become a mere vestige of its heydey as a Broadway/Old Hollywood haunt, and was being used as an occasional party venue. In fact, here's how the Diamond Horseshoe was recently described in a 2014 W magazine feature:
..."Whether you were a tourist from Iowa or a head of state, if you passed through Times Square between 1938 and 1951, chances are you ventured into the Diamond Horseshoe, a glittering dinner theater and club in the basement of the Paramount Hotel. The brainchild of Billy Rose, a groundbreaking Broadway lyricist and producer known for his work with the Ziegfeld Follies and Oscar Hammerstein II, the West 46th Street venue featured themed shows that mixed wholesome vaudevillian acts like barbershop quartets with leggy showgirls dressed in little more than flower bras and filmy skirts. Gene Kelly got his start choreographing one such performance, Betty Grable and W.C. Handy were among the star entertainers, and the house was filled with guests like Orson Welles and Sugar Ray Robinson. The club even inspired the 1945 film Diamond Horseshoe, starring Grable. Just six years later, however, the Horseshoe went belly-up, and other than serving as the venue for some parties in the late ’80s, it’s been unoccupied ever since..."
Flash forward three decades to 2014. Enter the real estate tycoon and impresario Aby Rosen, one of the most influential art collectors of our era, who acquired and revitalized the Diamond Horseshoe. It is perhaps fitting that the same venue that served as the site Andy Warhol's Memorial Lunch in 1987 - literally celebrating the end of an era - would now be in the hands of one of the most influential art collectors of our generation.
Some creasing, minor paper loss, corner bending, and agewear, but it is generally in good vintage condition and a very bright impression.