Jury: Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett belongs to longtime boyfriend Ryan O'Neal
December 19, 2013 11:45 PM
AP Photo/Blanton Museum of Art, Copyright The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Andy Warhol's "Farrah Fawcett," 1980.
By Victoria Kim / Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES -- An Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett that has been the subject of a legal tussle belongs to actor Ryan O'Neal, the late actress's longtime boyfriend, a Los Angeles jury has found.
The panel sided with Mr. O'Neal over the University of Texas at Austin, Fawcett's alma mater, which had claimed that the painting was bequeathed to the school along with her art collection at the time of her death in 2009.
The trial over the 1980 painting lasted three weeks and became, in part, a scrutiny of the relationship between Mr. O'Neal and Fawcett.
The 72-year-old actor took the stand and said Warhol painted two similar portraits, giving one to Fawcett and one to him. The painting in question now hangs above his bed at his Malibu home.
"I talk to it, I talk to her," he testified. "It's her presence, her presence in my life, in her son's life. We lost her; it seemed a crime to lose it, too."
Attorneys for the university argued that Fawcett owned both paintings, and that the canvas in Mr. O'Neal's possession now belonged to the school.
They attempted to show that the couple's love faded in later years, calling to the stand a college boyfriend of Fawcett's who said they had rekindled their romance before her death.
Art appraisers who testified in the trial gave dramatically different values for the artwork -- anywhere from $800,000 to $12 million.
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