Henry Gillespie, an Australian lawyer, arts advocate and benefactor,
met Andy Warhol in November 1979. Subsequently in a visit to Warhol's
studio in July 1985, the suggestion was made that Gillespie become the
Australian Editor for Interview, Warhol's trend-setting celebrity
magazine. Warhol also offered to do Gillespie's portrait, which he agreed
to readily. The consummate society portraitist was at work. 'You look
like Mel Gibson', flattered Warhol, while he snapped away for twenty minutes
using three boxes of Polaroid film.
In 1985 Warhol showed his completed portraits to the sitter and asked
him 'How do you feel at the prospect of being institutionalised?' Gillespie's
response to this question was one of bemusement; 'I was perplexed at this
comment because I thought he meant the mad house, so Andy explained that
one day they would hang in a museum'. Three of the four portraits are
now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010