Ryan Oneal sued for Warhol Portrait by University of Texas 2011

Ryan O'neal v. University of Texas over Andy Warhol Portrait

Ryan O'Neal, long-time love of the late "Charlie's Angels" female icon Farrah Fawcett, found himself in the middle of an intense lawsuit with the University of Texas over a twin portrait done by Andy Warhol that used to hang above the couple's bed decades before. The lawsuit stems from the details of which comes right out of a Hollywood movie plot, where a long and hot love affair ends in hurt and shame, causing possessions belonging to both parties to be divided and within the possession of its rightful owner, notwithstanding a bit of drama. 

According to O'Neal, their very publicized affair did in fact end abruptly when Fawcett found him in bed with another woman. But, where the story becomes of a different theme is how their dual possession of some items comes into play. O'Neal insists that the twin portrait belongs to him, and the only reason why he did not retain possession of it directly after the split was because his former lover was reeling from immense shame and hurt, causing her to want to make a point by holding onto the portrait in question for safe keeping a bit longer. While the point was made, O'Neal confided that the two lovers made up and actually had a good friendship once restitution was made. At some point prior to the icon's death, O'Neal retained possession of the Warhol Portrait. 

The University of Texas System's Board of Regents sued O'Neal in Los Angeles' federal court, asking the judge to order the Oscar-nominated actor to turn over the painting. The University claims the late actress bequeathed it to their Austin, Texas campus. Arnold Robinson, O'Neal's spokesperson, blasted the lawsuit in a statement, "This is a completely rediculous lawsuit', while pointing out that the University was fully aware for a year of O'Neal already having full possession of the portrait in question. "Ryan O'Neal's friendship with Andy Warhol began 10 years prior to his meeting Farrah Fawcett. 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."

In the Texas University's lawsuit, they claim that O'Neal may be holding onto other pieces from Fawcett's Art collection that she wanted her Alma Mator to have after her June 2009 death. Fawcett attended the University of Texas in the 1960's, and according to the University this Warhol Portrait was to be included in the packaged deal. "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." 

Warhol created the portraits in the 1980's and they were only on public display once. While the University is demanding that O'Neal purchase insurance for the portrait as well as preserve it properly in the event that the sentencing awards the University final possession of the portrait. The portrait is estimated to be in value of $30 million. 

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Category: Civil Law