Art on This Day
Edie Sedgwick (20 April 1943 – 16 November 1971) was an American heiress, socialite, fashion model and actress. Sedgwick is best known however as muse to Andy Warhol and has been described as a “living work of art”.
Born to a prolific family in Santa Barbara, California, Sedgwick had a troubled childhood. It was in March 1965, after Sedgwick moved to New York, that she met Andy Warhol at a dinner party held at Lester Persky’s apartment. It is said that Warhol was immediately enamoured by Sedgwick, captivated by her beauty and her aristocratic background. Sedgwick and her friend Chuck Wein were then invited to Warhol’s famed art studio The Factory, leading to her starring in a number of his films including Poor Little Rich Girl, Restaurant and Beauty No. 2.
Warhol as an artist was obsessed with the idea of celebrity and all the facets of consumerist culture, and his interest in Sedgwick was closely related to this. “One person fascinated me more than anybody I had ever known…The fascination I experienced was probably closer to a certain kind of love”. Despite Warhol’s films failing to gain commercial success, Sedgwick’s popularity grew as mainstream media began to document her appearances turning her style of leotards, mini dresses and large earrings into her trademark look. Warhol dubbed her a “superstar” and the two dominated the press as the “first couple of Pop Art”.
Warhol and Sedgwick’s friendship came to an abrupt end, culminating with Sedgwick moving into the Chelsea Hotel. The morning after attending a fashion show at the Santa Barbara Museum, Sedgwick was found dead at the age of 28 after a suspected barbiturate intoxication. Sedgwick has been immortalised in popular culture as an ‘It Girl’ and her life was the focus of the film Factory Girl, where she was played by Sienna Miller. Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground and The Cult have all released songs influenced by the icon.
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