In a blog post entitled Bag Lady Chooses Art Treasures Over Home I proclaimed ” I’d end up homeless before I would sell, but at least I’ll have cool artwork in my bag lady bags.” Well… all I can say is it is woman’s prerogative to change her mind, or in this case heart.

To be auctioned at Christie's November 13, 2014

To be auctioned at Christie’s November 13, 2014

We’re talking about a 19″ x14″ Andy Warhol Heart that will be for sale in the Christie’s Post War & Contemporary Art auction at 9AM on November 13th, 2014. (Pre)Viewing at New York’s Rockefeller Center begins on Nov. 3 between 10:100AM-5:00PM daily.

Andy would often try to advise us on which artists and which pieces to buy. When we didn’t listen he would patiently explain that art is business – it’s an investment, not just something pretty to hang on the wall. Since the proceeds will be used to help fund the next stage of my tech startup, Personal Chef Approach, I believe Andy would approve of my motive for the sale. In fact, I think there is something almost poetic about using proceeds of his generous gift to master the art of business.

"The Ten Most Notable Nuptials Of The Last Twenty-Five years" by Michael Musto

“The Ten Most Notable Nuptials Of The Last Twenty-Five Years” is still being written about 30 years later

However, it does mean parting with a very happy piece of my history. The painting was a wedding gift from Andy, and signed – To Nick and Julie, Love Andy on the back. I do hope the painting will ultimately land in the hands of someone who will appreciate the relationships and genuine affection behind it.

Julie Anne Rhodes at home with the Warhol Heart - a wedding gift from Andy

Julie Anne Rhodes at home with the Warhol Heart – a wedding gift from Andy

I was always a huge fan of Andy’s. To my youthful eye, it was a toss up between Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol for favorite artist, but I found Andy’s silkscreens  the most rewarding to imitate in art class during my prep school days (sans diamond dust of course). As the daughter of an accomplished artist, my own freehand drawings never quite measured up, so once I discovered I could capture an interesting image photographically, then manipulate it layer by layer into an impactful story – I fell in love with the medium. So much so, that when I inherited a little money when I turned 16 years old, I started my own collection with Warhol’s Wicked Witch from the Myth Series.

 

Meanwhile, Nick had grown up following Andy’s work, and his glamorous Studio 54 lifestyle which had an enormous influence on Nick’s own New Romantic style. I believe it was EMI publiscist Doreen D’Agostino who took the band (Duran Duran) to the factory to meet Andy during their first trip to America, and from that point on, Andy and Nick became very close friends.

Andy Warhol

Hanging out with Andy at the Factory

“Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran came to the office and brought his girlfriend, Julie Anne. He’s twenty and she’s twenty-three. He was wearing twice as much makeup as she was, although he is half as tall.” – Andy Warhol, The Andy Warhol Diaries

Our mutual admiration for the artist is actually one of the commonalities that drew us together the day Nick and I met. At the time, Duran Duran were opening for Blondie, and Nick flew me to New York for the end of tour party, but first he took me to meet Andy at the Factory. I was nervous – I had been in awe of Andy since early childhood, but Andy couldn’t have been any sweeter or more gracious in making me feel welcome. He accompanied us to Debbie Harry’s house that night.

Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Nick and Julie Anne Rhodes

Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Nick and Julie Anne Rhodes together in London

Not long after, Andy took us under his wing. We led an enchanted life in Andy’s world – endless parties and art gallery openings, shopping for gems on 47th street, dinners with Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Francesco and Alba Clemente at Mr. Chow or Odeon, then dancing the night away at Palladium with the Jaggers, Madonna, the Thompson Twins, and Raquel Welch – or perhaps an after hours cocoa with Yoko Ono at the Dakotah.  Life felt oddly normal but never dull with Andy, and we loved him dearly. He was a trusted confident and highly regarded advisor.

Andy insisted on announcing our engagement in Interview Magazine - photo by Matthew Rolston

Andy insisted on announcing our engagement in Interview Magazine – photo by Matthew Rolston

It was a crushing blow when he died. Nick and I were fast asleep in California when my mother rang at 7AM and warned me not to turn the television on. She told me, Andy was gone. What? Knowing how frightened about the the surgery Andy had been, we’d just spoken with Fred Hughes the night before to make sure he was okay, and Fred had assured us Andy came through the surgery with flying colors. Mom must be mistaken.

Life was enchanted inside Andy's world

Life was enchanted inside Andy’s world

I was speechless and could only hand Nick the phone for mom to explain. We never got out of bed that day – we just sat there in disbelief, watching the news, as if they would eventually announce it was all a very bad joke. We rang Fred again and the sad reality began to sink in. Nick was inconsolable, and life as we knew it would never be the same. It would be many years before I could bear to return to the city, but I feel so blessed to have been part of such a very special era in pop history where fashion, music, and art all collided in a spectacularly decadent manner.

Celebrating Andy's 58th birthday at Mr. Chow - photo by Harry Goodwin

Celebrating Andy’s 58th birthday at Mr. Chow – photo by Harry Goodwin

The Warhol Heart is one of very few pieces I kept from our joint collection when Nick and I divorced in 1995. It has always occupied a place of honor in every one of my homes since, reminding me of Andy’s love, generosity, and friendship. Should you have any questions about the auction or the Warhol Heart painting feel free to contact Christie’s Senior Specialist Jonathan Laib atjlaib@christies.com<mailto:jlaib@christies.com>

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