Farrah Fawcett Painting by Andy Warhol -- And How This Affects the Relationship with my Kid

I was surprised when I got home from work today, turned on the news, and saw that actor Ryan O’Neal won his long legal battle over ownership of an Andy Warhol portrait of the late Farrah Fawcett. He had an on again/off again relationship with her for 30 years and when she was dying of cancer, he always seemed to be lurking around. At the time, I found it all very odd. I wondered why he was coming back into the picture and always speaking on shows about her. As Warhol himself might say…it was like he was looking for another 15 minutes of fame.

A jury in Los Angeles (not known for their great decisions…i.e. O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake), decided the $12 million painting should go to O’Neal, instead of the University of Texas, to which Fawcett bequeathed her entire art collection.

She died in 2009, in her early 60s. I found it strange that if this painting was O’Neals, he waited until after she died before he was seen carrying it out of her house. In my mind, if you carry ANYTHING out of a dead persons house, chances are, it’s not yours. When a will states that item goes to somebody else, it should. It’s really that simple.

O’Neal claims that Warhol gave him one portrait and Fawcett the other in 1980. The jury supposedly wasn’t unanimous, but only 9 of the 12 jurors needed to side with him.

O’Neal’s sons (Patrick and Redmond), whom have had their share of run-ins and arrests, slapped each other on the back and hugged after the verdict was read. O’Neal was having some kind of skin lesion removed and wasn’t in the court. I’m sure he high-fived his doctor. Now, he claims he isn’t going to sell it and that he talks to the painting. He even cried in court talking about how he talks to the painting. One day, he said it will be passed down to Redmond (the son he had with Farrah). I seriously doubt that’s going to happen. Mark my words, he’ll sell it. And he’ll have some great excuse as to why (“money for my surgery” or “securing my childrens future”).

Now, for you autograph fans, there’s more. The jury also found that the tablecloth Warhol painted and signed belonged to both of them, and the University would have to return it. The University is hoping they can auction it, with money going to the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. Again, I doubt Ryan will do that. Dude looks like he needs the money and that charity is the last thing on his mind.

For those of you looking for a Fawcett collectable, her personal items were left to a nephew, who has promptly been auctioning them off. I’d go $10,000 for that red bikini she wore in the famous poster. But, uh…I digress.

All of this got me thinking about my autograph collection, and when I die, what my daughter will do with it.

I know she’ll keep the signed Beatles, Doors and other rock records. She’s been begging me to give up one of my White Stripes signed CDs. She says, “You have five of them. Giving me one won’t kill you.” Oh, but she’d have to kill me and pry it from my cold, dead hands!

It’s not that I don’t love my daughter. I do. You autograph collectors can understand, right? She’s a 20-year-old college student. What happens if she has some party, drinks a lot, and wakes up to see the autographed records stolen. I think she’s just too young to appreciate them, or really realize the value of them.

I figure at some point in my life, I’ll give her some autographs. For Christmas this year, I got her a signed script from a TV show she liked (Sons of Anarchy). It helps when you know people involved with the show (side note: perhaps I shouldn’t write about gifts she’s going to get in a few days, because she could possibly see this online).

I always figured when I got old, I’d start selling off my autographs so I could give my daughter the money. I’d rather do that, than have her take them somewhere and get low-balled on the prices. I can just imagine a person saying, “There’s really no proof these are real. There are no letters of authenticity. There aren’t any photos of these people signing them. I understand your dad worked in the entertainment business, but still…that proves nothing. So…for these thousands of pictures and records, I’ll give you a thousand bucks.” And she’d take it, believing that garbage.

The other benefit to me selling off my stuff so she doesn’t have to, is I know how hard it was to acquire certain items. I also know what they’re worth and what I can get for them. I also know the pieces that are questionable. That can be the albums I bought from Autograph Central. It could be the time I gave The Who bassist John Entwhistle’s assistant my Tommy album. He came back later with it signed, but it looked bogus to me. I would eventually get the late, great “Ox” at a guitar store he was at, but…it probably looks bad if my daughter goes to sell my collection, and a few bogus ones stick out. Nothing would turn off a buyer more than that. So, this gives me a chance to clean it all up, get rid of the questionable pieces, and give her a nice chunk of change.

Either that, or buy myself a 1960 Corvette. Haven’t decided which yet.

Views: 770

Tags: Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol Painting, Beatles, Corvette, Doors, Farrah Fawcett, John Entwhistle, Ryan O'Neal, The Who, White Stripes

Comment by Dan Gregory on December 24, 2013 at 8:12pm

Brilliant as always Josh and Merry Christmas to you, hope your daughter loves the script.

Many years ago I made the terrible mistake of allowing my younger sister to borrow a couple of LP's from my autograph collection including one signed by the legendary Roy Orbison. Sure enough she took it to a party where it was damaged and ruined so I never lend things I value.

My plan is to hang onto my collection for as long as possible and then sell it to fund others and to enjoy some good times!

Have a great festive season and thanks for the blogs in 2013!

Comment by Josh Board on December 26, 2013 at 12:56am

Thanks for the kind words, Dan.

I remember, the last few years, people wanting to borrow CDs. I simply take the sleeve out (if they're autographed), and they get the case, with the disc...but I keep the artwork, and signatures, on the sleeve. That's a system that has worked for me. Obviously, you sometimes have to learn things the hard way. Shame, because a signed Roy album would be SWEET. Instead, you're "crying...over...a ruined autograph" (see what I did there?)


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