Warhol credited Blau as being critical to his rise to international
America Pop Artist Andy Warhol painted Blau's RED WHITE AND BLUE portraits
on two occasions during her life – something he never did for any other person.
More than a few individuals hold bragging rights to having been immortalized by
Andy Warhol in his signature silkscreen canvas style,
but only Dorothy Blau can say it happened at two stages of her life.
“He told me he never did that with anyone before or after,” said Blau.
“And to my knowledge it’s true.”At 66 and again at 69, Dorothy Blau sat for Warhol both as a close
friend and as the first person to exhibit his work in South Florida, long before the name Basel was even
part of the industry vernacular. Known as one of the pioneers of the Miami art scene and an important
advocate of contemporary art on the East coast of America, Blau’s influence is both distinguished
and documented she didn't earn the title of Grande Dame of Art for nothing. Never being able to separate
between life and art, Blau split her time between Warhol’s famous studio,
The Factory, and her Florida apartment, surrounded by the work of artists such as Frank Stella,
Robert Indiana, Louise Nevelson, and Claes Oldenberg. Unsurprisingly, Dorothy Blau credited
Andy Warhol as a driving force in her life and by many who knew them both, she was praised
as a driving force in his as well.
" lONER AT THE BALL THE LIFE OF ANDY WARHOL"
published 1989 Bantan Press
" Three people were involved intimately in Andy's renaissance. It happened in 1980, soon after Jay Shriver became Andy's painting assistant. One of the three, Rupert Smith,
was already in the picture, but he was to become increasingly important. The second was Dorothy Berenson Blau, a dealer in Florida who in that time of doubt and reappraisal
stayed with her conviction that Andy was the greatest living painter of the age. For Dorothy Blau to spend a day at the Factory was like being in the lap of the gods. She always
brought Andy 'goodies', usually candy of some sort, not because she was courting his favor but because she very simply adored the man. She respected Rupoert's work, too,
and thought they were both geniuses. The third of Andy's trio of admires who helped bring him back to the prominence of the sixties was a gallery dealer, Ronald Feldman, who
shared Dorothy Blau's conviction about Andy's place as an artist."
"Feldman had run his gallery to show important contemporary art but not necessarily commercially successful art. It had not been a big money-maker for him and now that
he was so heavily involved in this first major portfolio, somehow it had to work out for him."
" 'So I got this idea of pre-selling some of the work in advance to people, sight-unseen just on the description that there would be an Andy Warhol portrait of Einstein , of Martin Baber
and the Marx Brothers and so on. I had made the acquaintance of, but did not know that well, Dorothy Berenson Blau. I had met her when she had her own gallery in Florida and she
was now running the Hokin Gallery, and I told her what this was. She had been a long-standing fan of Andy's. A professional groupie on the highest level. She just adored him.
She said to me, "I love this idea. I think this is incredible...."I said to her, "Dorothy, can you sell these sight-unseen, because I have nothing to show. I have to collect the money in advance."
I knew there was no marked for this now. You could buy the Marilyns, the Flowers and the Electric Chair for not much money. Here I was having to pay Andy a good deal of money to do
these and wondering how I was going to get the price of the art work up so I would make this pay. And Dorothy said that she would try. Then she would call me every few days and would
say (he laughs as he speaks)... now Sacha Harari was out there and supposed to be selling a lot of these sets, and he did sell some but not many. Dorothy would report in every few days, "
I sold five more. I sold six more." Finally, I had to say to her, "Dorothy stop! " I think from my point of view in reality Dorothy Berenson Blau really made the Warhol market. She
started the comeback, making this economically successful."
" The finished portfolio of portraits were hung at the Jewish Museum by Andy, Feldman and Andy's friend David Whitney. "Hilton Karamer, who was still at the Times, phoned and asked to
see the show. Andy and David groaned, and Feldman exclaimed: 'Oh God! Not him!' So Feldman attempted to keep Kramer at bay until the show opened but Kramer would have no part of that
He wanted to review the show in time for the Jewish holidays, and Feldman just knew that Kramer was going to trash the show. Andy knew Kramer as an old enemy and said, 'Oh, why him?
He's just going to say nasty things about me.' But the museum felt that it had to let Kramer in to get an advance look at the show, and he came and he trashed it, as predicted."
"Andy took it in his stride, but Feldman was upset since this meant so much to him. There was one consoling call frm artist Jim Rosenquist, who phoned to say, 'I just want you to know that
I have seen Hilton Kramer's art work. It's third-rate Reginald Marsh.' Rosenquist had reason to be peeved at Kramer since he had been trashed at a crucial moment in his life when his first show
opened after a terrible car accident that had nearly killed him and his wife. For most artists, Kramer was their equivalent of the actors' John Simon."
" Dorothy Berenson Blau was not daunted by the bad notice, and went on selling the work. She was not even stopped by the Robert Hughes attack in the New York Review of Books
. If anything, the Hughes review was more blistering than Kramer's (and Hughes was to write one of the few bad notices of the huge posthumous Museum of Modern Art retrospective)."
Andy Warhol died in 1987. "Among those he left behind- Jed Johnson, Gerald Malanga, Leo Castelli, Paul Morrissery, Briged Berlin, Fred Hughes, Paige Powell,
Heather Watts, Dorothy Blau, Stewart Pivar, Liza Minelli,..."