In Memoriam : Lou Reed and Guy Peellaert, living the Rock dream

Lou Reed and David Bowie by Guy Peellaert, from Rock Dreams (1970-1973).

When he created Rock Dreams, Guy Peellaert's vision for the portrait of personal hero Lou Reed was that of a nail-biting victim terrified of David Bowie, depicted as an androgynous vampire-like figure lurking in Reed's shadow, waiting to make his move. 

"How did you know? That bitch stole everything from me." 
That was Lou Reed's comment to Peellaert as he gamely posed for pictures in front of his portrait at the 1974 opening of the Rock Dreams exhibition in New York, where the original paintings were shown for the first time in the US.

As for Bowie, not only did he commission Peellaert to create the artwork for his next album—he also bought the original painting.  

This 1974 photograph of Lou Reed posing in front of his portrait —now owned by David Bowie—and holding a copy of the first US edition of Rock Dreams was one of Peellaert's cherished possessions. 

This 1974 photograph of Lou Reed posing in front of his portrait —now owned by David Bowie—and holding a copy of the first US edition of Rock Dreams was one of Peellaert's cherished possessions. 

Of Reed, Peellaert would declare he had been "God to me". More precious to him than the praise he earned from the likes of Bowie, Jagger or Lennon, it was Reed's reaction to Rock Dreams that Peellaert confessed had touched him most intimately.  "I was in my hotel room and I got a cryptic note from him. When the concierge called and said he was downstairs, waiting to see me, I felt I hadn't done all this for nothing."

 On October 14th 2013, two weeks before his death, Lou Reed posted his Rock Dreams portrait (recropped without Bowie) on his official Facebook account.

In several interviews, Peellaert would later single out The Velvet Underground's 1968 "White Light / White Heat" as his all-time favorite album, confessing he had listened to it nonstop toward the end of his iconic Pop period in Paris in the late 1960s, and that the album had helped mark a transition to the Rock period that would follow between 1970 and 1973 with Rock Dreams.

The Velvet Underground by Guy Peellaert, from Rock Dreams (1970-1973).