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  • Andy Warhol from a 1981 photoshoot by Steve Wood.

    Andy Warhol from a 1981 photoshoot by Steve Wood.

    Andy Warhol preferred to be behind the camera, but during a jaunt in the south of France 30 years ago, he reluctantly allowed himself to be featured in a friend’s photo-study. Now those images have finally gone on display at a New York City condo project known as 345 meatpacking.

    Steve Wood, a veteran photographer with London’s Daily Express, shot the photos and filed them away without much further thought. They remained unseen until last year.

    That’s when friend David Munns, a well-known food photographer, happened across the slides. He convinced Wood they were worthy of exhibition for Warhol aficionados and the wider world.

    The Andy Warhol Foundation got behind the project along with Interview magazine, which the artist founded in 1969. Now the exhibition, Lost Then Found,” has finally been staged and will open to the public May 3 for 10 at the makeshift gallery on W. 14th St.

    Andy Warhol: Lost Then Found

    Photos by Steve Wood

    The two met in 1981 at the French town of Deauville. Both were there for the Deauville American Film Festival. The French town had been a summer retreat for the glitterati since the 1920s. F. Scott Fitzgerald even wrote about it in his essay “Echoes of the Jazz Age.”

    Elaine Kaufman, owner of the legendary restaurant Elaine’s, an Upper East Side haunt for writers and artists, was staying at Wood’s hotel and introduced him to Warhol.

    During the festival, the town was packed with celebrities, and Wood busily photographed many of them. “I came back with so many celebrity pictures that I just chose the ones to be published in the newspapers and forgot the rest.” he told the >BBC.

    Then, one day last year, Munns and Wood were having a conversation when Warhol came up. Munns was astonished to learn that Wood had met him, which set off a search for the long-forgotten 35mm slides.

    The photos are iconic Warhol; he was pop art personified. Among the snots are poses with a giant sunflower, his purple backpack and a copy of his magazine. He was 53 at the time and had become reclusive.

    Interview magazine editor at large Christopher Bollen call the photos a “testament” to Warhol and an “opportunity to re-assess his bearing as one of the most influential artists of the last century.”.

    Warhol introduced the world to “pop art” in the 1960s. His paintings of everyday items like his iconic Campbell’s soup can are now worth millions of dollars. He also specialized in celebrity portraits. He died at 58 in 1987 from complications involving surgery.

    For more information on the exhibit check out the “Lost Then Found” website and be sure to follow TheImproper on Twitter to keep up with the latest updates.