Ultra Violet

Underground celebrity Ultra Violet was born Isabelle Collin Dufresne in 1935 in France, a convent-raised French bourgeois heiress. A coiffured society deb in those days, she moved to New York in 1953 where she spent a decade surrounding herself with artists like John Graham, John Chamberlain, and Salvador Dalí, the last with whom triggered her career as a painter. It was through her relationship with Dali that she eventually met pop icon Andy Warhol in the early 1960’s and changed her name to Ultra Violet, evolving into one of Warhol’s more accessible and unforgettable trashy-chic East 47th Street “Factory” superstars.

An exotic vamp in style and attitude, Ultra Violet seemed to pick up quite a bit of makeup tips from silent star Theda Bara and went on to appear in Warhol’s The Life of Juanita Castro (1965) and I a Man (1967) before her cameo inclusions in other now-cult films. Her best-selling 1988 autobiography “Famous for Fifteen Minutes: My Years with Andy Warhol” detailed her rise in celebrity, and her play “You Are What You Eat” was performed in Czechoslovakia in 1992. As a visual artist with political and spiritual overtones, her mixed-media works have been displayed worldwide. She opened an art studio in Nice in 1990, creating a movement called “L’Ultratique,” publishing two manifestos in the early 1990’s. Her work was included in the Audart exhibition that commemorated the tenth anniversary of Warhol’s death. A bi-continental resident, Ultra Violet currently divides her time between her studio in Nice and her penthouse apartment in Manhattan.

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