Nature Photographer Who Sued Andy Warhol Over Her Photo of Flowers Dies

 Acclaimed nature photographer Patricia Caulfield, who successfully sued Andy Warhol over his use of her photo of flowers, has died at the age of 91.

Acclaimed nature photographer Patricia Caulfield, who successfully sued Andy Warhol over his use of her photo of flowers, has died at the age of 91.

Caulfield, who also served as executive editor of Modern Photography magazine in the 1960s, died on July 16 at an assisted living facility in Manhattan, New York.

The photographer’s death was confirmed by her sister and only immediate survivor Kathleen Hall.

Caulfield won a legal battle against Warhol after the pop artist misappropriated her photo of hibiscus blossoms for his renowned Flowers series.

Caulfield’s case bears some similarities to photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s lawsuit against The Andy Warhol Foundation over the artist’s use of her photo of Prince.

According to an obituary to the photographer shared on Echovita, Caulfield moved to New York City in the late 1950s and worked in a camera store.

Her perseverance and dedication to photography led Caulfield to get an entry-level position as a secretary at Modern Photography magazine. She worked at the magazine for over a decade before she advanced to the position of the magazine’s executive editor in 1964.

The Photographer’s Lawsuit Against Andy Warhol

During her time at Modern Photography, Caulfield had many photographs published in the magazine. One of her most famous photos was of a hibiscus blossoms in an arrangement that she took at a restaurant in Barbados.

Caulfield’s photos of the hibiscus blossoms were printed in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography to illustrate an article on a new Kodak home color processing system.

The New York Times reports that Warhol contacted Modern Photography magazine to buy Caulfield’s photo — but felt the price was too high.

According to Caulfield’s lawsuit, Warhol instead clipped her photo straight from the pages of the magazine, cropped it, and used it as the basis for his iconic silkscreen paintings which became known as his Flowers series.

Warhol’s Flowers series was first shown at the Leo Castelli Gallery in Manhattan in November 1964 and went on to become some of his most renowned and commercially successful works of art.

When Caulfield discovered that Warhol had used her photograph without her consent in his Flowers series, she sued him. In 1966, the lawsuit was settled out of court in Caulfield’s favor.

As part of a settlement that Caulfield and Warhol eventually reached, he created two new Flowers paintings for her and agreed to pay her a 25% share of the royalties derived from a portfolio of the prints.

A Life Dedicated to Photography

According to The New York Times, Caulfield later left Modern Photography in 1967 to pursue a career as a photojournalist. Her photographs during this time reflected her growing passion for environment and wildlife.

Caulfield published several books including Complete Guide to Kodachrome II, Beginner’s Guide to Better Pictures, Photographing Wildlife, and The Everglades which presented 66 of her photographs.

“I guess there’s the hope somebody may see my photographs and think, ‘that’s a wonderful animal, maybe it’s worth making an effort to save,’” Caulfield reportedly told the Knight-Ridder News Wire in 1977.

“But at least I’m effective in making a record of something before it all gets ruined.”

Image credits: Header photo via Echovita.