PETER HUJAR (1934–1987)

Candy Darling on Her Deathbed (III), 1973
gelatin silver print
signed by Stephen Koch, Executor of the Peter Hujar Archive and numbered '587' and 'EPH 9A-1' in pencil, stamped photographer's copyright and archive’s credit in ink (verso)
image: 13 5/8 x 13 5/8 in. (34.6 x 34.6 cm.)
sheet: 16 5/8 x 13 3/4 in. (42.2 x 34.9 cm.)
This work was printed by Peter Hujar.
Pace MacGill Gallery, Peter Hujar Estate
Courtesy: The Collection of Michael Hoeh, New York, NY.
Exhibition Catalogue, Peter Hujar: A Retrospective, Scalo, Zürich, 1994, p. 183, (variation).
Exhibition Catalogue, Peter Hujar: Lost Downtown, Steidl, Gottingen, 2016, n.p, (variation).
Peter Hujar, Peter Hujar: Speed of Life, Aperture, New York, 2017, pl. 32, p. 87, (variation).
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

I will not cease to be myself for foolish people. For foolish people make harsh judgments on me. You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality. —Candy Darling

Hujar's moving portraits of Candy Darling on her deathbed are among the artist's most revered images. Born James Lawrence Slattery in Queens, NY, Candy Darling was a self-made bottle-blond psychedelic reincarnation of silver screen goddesses from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Candy rose to superstardom following her discovery by Warhol, who quickly cast the pouty, leggy blonde in two of his movies, anointing her the new It Girl of New York’s avant garde scene. Fellow Factory member George Abagnalo recalled that ‘to be a movie star, to be considered a…beautiful movie star was the most important thing in Candy’s life. She idolized women who had achieved this and this is what she wanted to be. This is why she was alive.’ Following her hospitalization for lymphoma at the age of 29, Candy requested that Hujar come up and have her picture taken. Fran Leibowitz, who was present at the time the picture was taken, stated that Candy ‘loved that picture. And she really made a big effort to look like that.’ This last portrait, indeed, is a final ode to a telegenic, rules-breaking, gender-bending Pop Culture siren, captured by a likewise uniquely visionary and immensely gifted artist.

Hujar turned his camera to characters from his everyday orbit—friends, lovers, fellow artists, all captured with an understated intimacy. Most, like Hujar, were living in New York, fueled by the city’s electric magnetism and embrace of non-conformists. Few were already renowned within their field, yet all had been steadily crafting a body of work that was emphatically theirs, which may explain their appeal to Hujar, himself a proud individual with a deep sense of integrity and an uncompromising vision for his art. ‘If you look at his work,’ recalled Nan Goldin, a close friend of Hujar’s, ‘you see a lot more than the surface of the person.’

Related Articles

Sorry, we are unable to display this content. Please check your connection.

More from
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report