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Sale 2514 Lot 164
"EVERY WOMAN WHO WANTS TO BE BEAUTIFUL SHOULD BE BEAUTIFUL" CANDY DARLING (1944-1974)
Personal papers, photographs and various effects of the iconic Warhol superstar.
More than 100 items in one box; condition generally strong. New York, circa 1950s-1973.
Estimate $20,000 - 30,000
Candy Darling was an actress who came to prominence in Andy Warhol's 1968 film Flesh. An enduring transgender icon, she was featured in songs by the Rolling Stones and Lou Reed before her untimely death from lymphoma in 1974. The heart of this lot is her 1970 diary / notebook, with its title page inscribed "Candy Darling, reward if found. If found call Andy Warhol Films. . . . Big Reward." A well-thumbed 15-page address section features contact information for Andy Warhol, Dick Cavett, Jackie Curtis, Hedy Lamarr, Jane Fonda, Max's Kansas City, Warhol figures such as Ultra Violet, Paul Morrissey, Gerard Malanga, and Viva (staying at the Chelsea Hotel), and many more.
The page-a-day entries are mostly in the form of appointments or cryptic memoranda, with occasional diary entries, dramatic drawings of makeup or self-portraits, and quotations. Among the musings on her gender identity is a long 11 January reminiscence: "At the Hayloft I was a star. These queens adored me because I was beautiful. I met a designer who asked me to model his clothes. At this time I had black (dyed) hair. He and some of the others saw how feminine I was and encouraged me to become the woman? I am today. Beauty is very important. Every woman who wants to be beautiful should be beautiful. . . . One day I realized I was not just looking like a pretty boy but a pretty girl. . . . God will make each one of us fit in our own individual way. . . . The worst experiences of my life have been not being able to express my love freely to all the men I would have loved." A transgender friend is discussed on 20 August: "Tonight I cut Taffy's hair and we went out. Taffy wore a man's shirt and pants and sandals, no make up. She had a belt tied around her chest to strap the breasts down. Taffy now says that she is a man." More humorously, on 1 April she recorded a snippet of dialogue: "Sandy: Candy's breeding pink mice. Yeah, she wants to make a coat. She wants a mouse coat. Candy: Yeah, I figure it'll be about 3,000 mice." On 6 October she wrote "The gin. My life is so ridiculous, I cannot believe it. Some beautiful hippy boy is smiling back at me. Why is everything so funny? See how good gin is?" On 5 May she mentioned "Tomato soup cans autographed by Andy." On 13 May 1970 she wrote "My dream come true. Ron Glick put a diamond ring on my finger and said Candy and I are engaged." A few entries relate to her acting career. On 14 April she discussed the filming of "Some of My Best Friends Are": "I was 1 1/2 hours late. Mervyn screamed. Filmed early scenes with Howard (David Drew)." Darling was a favorite of the era's best-known photographers; appointments with Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Bruce Weber are noted in the diary, among many others. Peter Beard signs the address book section with a little drawing, and the printed calendar at the end has numerous days circled and noted as "shoots."
The lot also contains more than 30 photographs, including a cast photograph of her 1971 stage production "Vain Victory," and a promotional piece titled "Immortal Films presents Candy Darling as Joan of Arc, the woman . . . the saint." Other portraits include a strip of 3 contact prints by Richard Avedon, a larger portrait credited to Anton Perich, and several photos of a young boy which date from Darling's early life as James Slattery. Her round-framed heart-pattern sunglasses are also present.
One dramatic highlight is a Polaroid photograph of Darling with an unknown man, presented to her by (and very likely taken by) Andy Warhol. It was addressed to her in a printed "Andy Warhol Films, Inc." envelope addressed in Warhol's hand to "Candy Slatery," and signed by Warhol with his nickname "Granny." Another Polaroid of Darling from the same sitting and bearing the same "047301281" film serial number is held by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, where it is credited on verso as "by Andy Warhol, 1973."
5 binders of loose papers include letters to and from Darling, as well as memoranda and ephemera from her career. They include a Social Security card issued to her early identity as Hope Slattery; a 4-F draft card issued to James Slattery in 1965; notices for the cosmetology exam she took in 1963; and a lock of Darling's hair. Darling's quest for continual refinement of her identity is reflected in her handwriting, which often changed dramatically from day to day, and year to year. On some of her diary pages, she practiced different signatures. It may be impossible to say how many of these undated letters and memoranda are actually in her hand, but the large majority appear to be. An unsigned letter, from Darling to "Kathy" circa 1969, recounts her early acting career: "I've only appeared in one movie so far. It is an Andy Warhol movie called 'Flesh.' . . . Andy just called me at 7 p.m. I was still sleeping and he gave me the address for tomorrow where his next film is being made. My second film I hope I'm better this time." One letter to "Dearest Lawrence" is signed "Candy Darling" with 5 lipstick kisses. "I still can't get you out of my mind. . . . I'm not very subtle, am I? I can't afford to be subtle, there's too little time. . . . My thoughts of you could fill an eternity." An undated memorandum dated 7-8 March 1971 reads "I find I am thinking of Ron Glick all the time. . . . I want to send him a beautiful picture of me on which I will write 'Ron, I have not forgotten you, I think of you often.' . . . I pray he will write back to me. I would marry him in an instant. I must become worthy." She continues: "I feel that someone like me has a very limited chance for happiness. I must find out whether it's right and good for me to be a female, and can I ever be a woman? My first desire is to be right & have a husband. I will ask for no more. In that pleasant state I would be content for the rest of my earthly days. I am 26 years old. Time to think, time to do. Time to practice--all I believe is right."
More details on this rich and revealing collection are available upon request.