If it was a regular old portrait in oils by someone who wasn’t famous, this wouldn’t be happening. But ooooh, it’s a WARHOL, so everyone’s backing into their corners.
The University of Texas system and Ryan O'Neal are sparring over ownership of an Andy Warhol portrait of the actor's longtime companion, Farrah Fawcett.
The system's board of regents sued O'Neal in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday, asking a judge to order the Oscar-nominated actor to turn over the painting. The portrait is one of two that Warhol made of the "Charlie's Angels" star and the university claims the actress bequeathed it to their Austin, Texas campus.
O'Neal's spokesman Arnold Robinson blasted the lawsuit in a statement, saying the university has known for more than a year that the actor has painting. "This is completely ridiculous lawsuit," Robinson wrote.
"Ryan O'Neal's friendship with Andy Warhol began 10 years prior to his meeting Farrah Fawcett," Robinson wrote. "When Ryan introduced Andy to Farrah, Mr. Warhol chose to complete two portraits of her, one for Ms. Fawcett and one for Mr. O'Neal. Mr. O'Neal looks forward to being completely vindicated in the courts."
The university's lawsuit claims O'Neal may be holding onto other pieces from Fawcett's art collection that she wanted the university to have after her June 2009 death. Fawcett attended the University of Texas at Austin in the 1960s, according to the complaint.
"The enduring value and public interest in the Warhol portraits is a testament not only to Mr. Warhol's talent and artistry, but also to Ms. Fawcett's status as a cultural icon," the lawsuit states.
There are a few things here that may surprise: 1. Ryan O’Neal was friends with Andy Warhol, and 2. Farrah had an art collection. As for the picture itself, it’s probably the usual Warhol - a picture projected on a canvas and traced, or something like that. Googling for the image . . . ah. Yes, that’s what he did. This is worth $30 million? Yes.
But how did the U of T learn about the painting? Let’s let television tell the rest of the story.
One of his most famous works? Really? Note how O’Neal seems to be heading straight towards Shatnerhood in the grumpy-old-neck department.