ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)
Pope John Paul II
stamped with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Estate of Andy Warhol stamps and numbered 'FL05.02460' (on the reverse)
unique gelatin silver print

10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm.)

Executed in 1980.

Estate of Andy Warhol, New York
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York
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Lot Essay

Wednesday, April 2, 1980—Naples—Rome
Fred and I had to leave for our private audience with the pope by 10:00 so we left Naples at 7:00. When we came to the outskirts of Rome the driver didn’t know how to get into the city. We had to follow a cab to take us to Graziella’s office to pick up two tickets to have a private audience with the pope…We got our tickets and then the driver dropped us off at the Vatican. When we saw 5,000 other people standing around waiting for the pope, too, I just knew that Graziella hadn’t gotten us a private audience. But Fred put on airs and went up to the guards and said that we had a private audience with the pope and they laughed. They finally took us in to our seats with the rest of the 5,000 people and a nun screamed out, “You’re Andy Warhol! Can I have your autograph?” She looked like Valerie Solanis so I got scared she’d pull out a gun and shoot me. Then I had to sign five more autographs for other nuns. And I just get so nervous at church. And then the pope came out, he was on a gold car, he did the rounds, and then finally he got up and gave a speech against divorce in seven different languages. There was a bunch of cheerleaders saying, “Rah-​rah, pope.” That took three hours. It was really boring, and then finally the pope was coming our way. He shook everybody’s hand and Fred kissed his ring and got Suzie’s cross blessed. He asked Fred where he was from and Fred said New York, and I was taking pictures—there were a lot of photographers around—and he shook my hand and I said I was from New York, too. I didn’t kiss his hand. The people next to me were giving him a gold plate, they were from Belgium. The mobs behind us were jumping down from their seats, it was scary. Then Fred was going to take a Polaroid but I said they’d think it was a machine gun and shoot us, so we never got a Polaroid of the pope. As soon as Fred and I got blessed we ran out. Excerpt from
The Andy Warhol Diaries © The Andy Warhol Foundation. Used with permission.
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