The trial over Ryan O’Neill’s portrait of Farah Fawcett by Andy Warhol ended with a startling appraisal of the value of the work at $12m testified to in court by Lee Drexler. Granted, $12m is well below the silly $30m figures first bandied about in the press when the story of the dispute between the actor and the University of Texas, which is Fawcett’s heir, became public. But $12m is still significantly above any of the other Warhol celebrity portraits that have sold. Muhammad Ali made $9m in November of 2007; Debbie Harry made $6m in June 2011;and O.J. Simpson made $5.6m in May of 2011.
Drexler said because of Fawcett’s fame and beauty, Warhol’s portrait of her was extraordinary. She noted the artist’s works remain hot sellers and said the average auction price for one of his pieces is $7.5 million.
“This is not average,” Drexler said of the portrait Warhol crafted from Polaroid pictures he shot of Fawcett. “This painting makes your eyes pop. It’s magnificent. It’s just a gorgeous painting.”
O’Neal’s attorney Todd Eagan questioned Drexler’s appraisal. He noted the university had insured its version of the Warhol portrait for around $600,000, and the version hanging in O’Neal’s home was appraised in 2009 for less than $1 million.
Entertainment: Expert: Warhol portrait of Fawcett is worth $12 million (Associated Press)