Monday, August 01, 2016


Andy Warhol knew everyone in NYC so it’s kind of inevitable that he encountered Donald Trump. ‘Had to meet Donald Trump at the office (cab $5.50)’, Warhol writes in his diary on 22 April 1981. Marc Balet (ex Interview magazine) was designing catalogues for Trump Towers and had suggested that Trump get Warhol to make a painting of the Towers, ‘to hang over the entrance to the residential part.’ He called it a portrait of course. Trump turned up to the meeting and Warhol had a typical Warhol reaction: he thought Trump was ’really good-looking’ and also how strange it was that ‘these people are so rich.’ The entry ends, ‘He’s a butch guy. 

Nothing was settled, but I’m going to do some paintings anyway and show them to him.’ Three months later Trump comes back with his wife (Ivana at the time) to check the paintings out but Warhol thinks the show-and-tell goes badly. ‘It was a mistake to do so many, I think it confused them. Mr Trump was very upset that it wasn’t colour coordinated.’ And later, ‘I think Trump’s sort of cheap.’ The commission never came off.

PS: After thinking ourselves so super smart finding this story via our copy of the Warhol Diaries we found that the Warhol Museum had already done it on their blog. You can read their version here.

Image: Andy Warhol, drawing for Trump Towers painting, 1981
Source: Andy Warhol Diaries edited by Pat Hackett