"Eric Emerson (Chelsea Girls)," 1982 by Andy Warhol
Eric Emerson (Chelsea Girls), 1982; Screenprint in colors on Somerset Satin White Paper; Numbered H.C. 15/24 and signed Andy Warhol in pencil lower right; Published by Anthology Film Archives, New York; Printed by Porter-Wiener Studio, New York; Size - Sheet 30" x 22", Frame 39 1/2 x 34 3/4"; Catalog Raisonne: Feldman/Schellmann: II.287; Framed matted and floated on acid free mats, with a black wood exterior frame, and UV plexiglass.
Eric Emerson was an American musician, dancer, and actor; and was best known for his roles in films by pop artist Andy Warhol and as a member of the seminal glam punk group, The Magic Tramps. He was born on June 23, 1945 and grew up in New Jersey where he became trained as a classic ballet dancer. After seeing Emerson dancing at The Dom in April 1966, Andy Warhol asked Emerson to be in one of his underground films. Emerson made his film debut in the now famous 1967's Chelsea Girls, and soon became a Warhol Factory regular. Emerson would go on to star in other Warhol films; most notably, Lonesome Cowboys, San Diego Surf, and Heat.
Emerson began his musical career with the band, The Magic Tramps. The band, which began in Hollywood in 1969, relocated to New York City in 1971 after Eric joined as lead vocalist. The Magic Tramps played gigs at Max's Kansas City, a favorite hangout among the Warhol Factory regulars. In 1971 Emerson appeared in Jackie Curtis' play Vain Victory: Vicissitudes of the Damned, with Ondine, Holly Woodlawn, and Candy Darling; and with music by The Magic Tramps and Lou Reed.
Eric Emerson had two children and his first was a daughter, Erica born in 1967; that was a result of a long relationship with Elda Gentile a founding member of the band The Stilettoes. The two also had a son, Branch Emerson. In 1970 Eric began a relationship with model and actress Jane Forth, who appeared Warhol's films Women in Revolt, L'Amour, Trash, and Bad. Together, they had a son, Emerson Forth.
On May 28, 1975, Emerson's body was found next to his bicycle, near the West Side Highway, in Manhattan. Emerson's death is listed officially as a hit and run and to date, no one has been arrested or charged in connection with his death. Following a weekend-long wake hosted by Max's Kansas City owner Mickey Ruskin, Emerson was laid to rest in Wharton, New Jersey.
In the book Making Tracks, the famous musician Debbie Harry provided an account of the circumstances surrounding Emerson's death:
"One night we were over at Eric's apartment working on a tape of "Heart of Glass" on his Teac fourtrack tape recorder, when he suddenly staggered out of the kitchen looking ashen. He looked even more distraught and sad when we left. Being satisfied drove him crazy in the end, because he had everything so he didn't care about anything anymore. He used to go out jogging every day, and did feats of physical endurance like strapping twenty-pound weights to each ankle and then bicycling up to the Factory. The next day we were sitting around the house just after we woke up when Barbara called with the bad news. "Oh, Eric got hit by a truck." He had been a good friend and inspiration to so many people. We didn't quite understand what had happened, but we went up to a party/wake held for him and saw a lot of people from the earlier glitter days. Eric's death definitely marked an end to the glitter period. We still miss him."
This is a very rare original serigraph portrait of Eric Emerson by the great Pop Artist Andy Warhol derived from source material of a film clip from the Warhol movie "Chelsea Girls," 1966. The print was published in "A Portfolio of Thirteen Prints," containing works by thirteen different artists in order to commemorate the conversion of New York City's Second Avenue Court House into the new home of the Anthology Film Archives, the first museum dedicated to avant-garde film and video. The choice by Warhol to use a film clip of Eric Emerson from Warhol's own cult film was a brilliant decision.
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