25 November 2009

an Andy Warhol Thanksgiving

The photographer HORST serving up ANDY WARHOL in the 1980's. Warhol in his panelled boardroom at the FACTORY serving cold cuts at his Irish Regency sideboard. A beautiful Pre-Raphaelite painting by Scottish David Forrester Wilson. The infamous Factory was an 1870's warehouse housing Wahol's work, the offices of his magazine INTERVIEW and his collection of antiques. (note the great dane Cecil)

Closeup of  an American Rococo chandelier in the Warhol townhouse-surrounded by Orientalist stenciling- & decorated by designer Jed Johnson. Johnson and Warhol moved into the Federal-style townhouse in 1974-it is here JJ perfected his  impeccable design skills. Interestingly- Warhol wanted period appropriate furnishings for the 6 story townhouse-giving Jed Johnson license to indulge in the historic details he loved. In the book JED JOHNSON- OPULENT RESTRAINT INTERIORS, Johnson cites the Mark Twain house in Hartford Connecticut as one of his favourites, finding its late nineteenth century hand stenciling as his inspiration for the Warhol townhouse.Labour intensive hand stenciling produced glorious results throughout the rooms in the house.

Another view of Warhol's panelled Boardroom-East African sculptures, a moosehead, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann chairs, tv and videos.(Horst image)

 The Jed Johnson take on a Federal Parlour at the Warhol townhouse. With period furnishings- 1835 Philadelpia mahogany recamiers, another Philadelphia piece-the secretary placed between a pair of heavily dressed windows in period style with handmade trims, a Baltimore stenciled center table and a circa 1900 Aubusson.

Another look at the intricate stenciling in a corner of the townhouse-where a bronze Mercury, heron sconce and a Franz Hagenauer sculpture and silk lampas curtains reside in perfect accord.

Warhol's monumental Art Deco brass desk in the Factory studio surrounded by Warhols.(Horst image)

Warhol loved visiting all the sumptously decorated rooms in the townhouse but spent most of his time in his bedroom surrounded by his dachshunds, a tv and telephone-despite his celebrity-Warhol remained intensely private. The Johnson designed Warhol bedroom retreat with an imposing Federal mahogany bed. According to Johnson Andy's favourite place for hiding his jewelry was the canopy. This room of all the townhouse rooms shown in the Johnson book is my favourite. Elegant, layered with textiles,period details in the bed hangings, color palette,religious iconography- all perfection-stand in bold contrast to the man known as Andy Warhol.

JED JOHNSON died on TWA flight 800 to Paris when it explode off the coast of Long Island New York. The design world lost a star - still rising that night in 1996.(NYTIMES July 25 1996 grace interrupted read it here)

more JED JOHNSON here & here
about Jay Johnson-Jed's twin here 
more about the Townhouse here from Cedric of Paris 2E



  1. "Cecil" was stuffed in 1930,purchased by AW in the late 60s.He paid $300, believing the seller- claiming the dog was Cecil B. deMille. Cecil was indeed a champion dog-but not CB deMille's and Cecil-the dog was stuffed as part of a Dog Hall of Fame at Yale's Peabody Museum, which closed in 1964.

  2. This is truly American post.
    Is this the Ivy covered town house on 89th and Lexington Avenue? I knew Fred Hughes, We visited him there many years ago.
    I also had friends who where early American lighting specialist they provided lamps and chandeliers for many Jed Johnson projects, as well as the American wing at the Metropolitan museum. One partner survives, and he is an invaluable resource.

  3. Excellent post. I have the book about Johnson and it is one of my most valued. Too early to express much more than appreciation but it is a super post.

  4. More than a soupcon (can?) of grace and remembrance served up here. That stuffed dog thing... Like I mentioned at (In)Decorous Taste, that scene in John Irving's book when the family pet comes rolling out of the closet is hysterical. Living with a stuffed pet, I don't know kinda' creeps me out.! Thanks to you and Blue just ordered this book. My little appetizer for cooking this holiday! Much happiness to you and your family. Give your Mama a special hug from all of us out here in blog world.

  5. Hi LA. Gorgeous rooms...pulls the whole image into focus. 17 yr old son is mad for tomato soup so recently bought enough for a good sized stack...so iconic...never has an artist done so much for a product(and knowing you, you'll come up with a few others out of your vast reference library). Merci, Trish

  6. Oh my ... . this does bring back such memories. I didn't know about Cecil.
    Creepy/Perfect, indeed.

    Remember the auction and all those cookie jars? I used to run into AW at the NY flea markets in the '80s.
    Always buying bunches of oddities.


  7. Really enjoyed the images of the townhouse and as I am a bit crazy for lighting fixtures, the chandelier and the heron sconce really caught my eye. Also, just got caught up on a few prior posts and wanted to thank your for sharing the story of your beautiful relationship with your father and mother. Here's to unconditional love...

  8. wonderful i think i am gonna read it again, indeed thats a side i didn't know, it's wonderful, sorry if i mention it several times, but i mean it from the heart :-)

    thanks for this.


  9. Great post! I love the first picture so much.

  10. Wow-thanks for the education. So interesting to see people's homes, especially such a an over the top personality as Warhols', and find them living in an environment in such contrast to their public image. From the Fiesta-ware on the buffet in the first image, to the tidbit about poor stuffed Cecil-such a pleasure. Now I have to go find out more about Jed Johnson (and what fabulous hair his brother had...can't help but to note).

  11. so great.... first time I ever come across pictures of his house. thank you!

  12. Of great Interest, the DEVOTED CLASSICIST has added this detail concerning the question posed by DEBRA. Thank You, JOHN. 'The house shown that was decorated by Jed Johnson and featured in his book is on East 66th Street. Fred Hughes' house is at 1342 Lexington near 89th Street and was covered with vines during his residency. The confusion of the two might come from -- if I am remembering this correctly -- it was where Warhol lived with his mother before moving to 66th. Johnson & architect Alan Wazenberg had done some work here, but nothing like later at 66th. I had been to the Hughes residence a number of times because my friend Jack Gilbert designed and built the faux bois library there that was published. Hughes was wheelchair bound at the time (in the late 80s/early 90s), so it must have been particularly difficult as there was no elevator.'

  13. Curtis, for all Warhol's warts I am still enamored. pgt



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