Barbara Allen de Kwiatkowski, one of the most famous muses of artist Andy Warhol, has died at the age of 69.
The socialite’s death was confirmed by her family to Page Six on Tuesday (8 June): “She passed away peacefully in her sleep.”
A model and journalist, de Kwiatkowski was best known for working with Warhol on Interview magazine, which began circulation after complimentary copies were given out to the New York “in-crowd”. When Warhol published his diaries in 1989, they mentioned her 73 times.
Living in New York in the 1960s and 70s, the socialite was a close friend of the likes of Mick Jagger – who was famously rumoured to have tried to climb into her bedroom window one night – Truman Capote and Roman Polanski.
Speaking about de Kwiatkowski’s friendship with Warhol in 2007, photographer Peter Beard said: “Barbara holds the keys to the other side of the amazingly enormous Warhol story. She was there for all the great statements of Andy’s for years before she cared.
“She was completely innocent, and she literally saw and heard everything and didn’t give a damn. She had the most naive and unspoiled eye of any human to enter Manhattan.”
Author Fran Lebowitz said of de Kwiatkowski: “Barbara had this look particularly prized at the Factory, this very WASP-y look and very fresh. Andy took Barbara up because she was his idea of the great all-American beauty. I don’t think it had anything to do with what Barbara was like as a person. I doubt that Andy would have noticed, you know, or cared.”
de Kwiatkowski was married twice, once to newspaper entrepreneur Joseph Allen when she was 19, and then to Henryk de Kwiatkowski in 1986, who she stayed with until his death in 2003.