Mystery: Is A Bad-Boy Celebrity Hiding $30 Million Artwork From UT?

A gorgeous Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett is practically the face of the Blanton Museum of Art right now.

The work headlines the Blanton’s “About Face” portraiture exhibition, and its image is used in ways as massive as a screen across the side of the building and as tiny as the museum’s Twitter avatar.

But is it missing its companion—another Warhol portrait, worth an estimated $30 million, of the late actress?

Fawcett’s advocates are telling the media yes. They say that Ryan O’Neal, Fawcett’s on-again, off-again lover of 30 years, is hiding a portrait that the former Longhorn left to her alma mater when she died of cancer exactly two years ago Saturday.

Craig Nevius, a close friend and business partner of Fawcett, told ABC News that after being approached by UT to help recover the artwork, he waited for O’Neal to betray himself.

Then, when he read “Found,” a tell-all memoir by O’Neal’s daughter Tatum, he saw a clue. Portraits—including the Warhol—were hanging in her father’s house, Tatum O’Neal wrote in her book.

“That was a ‘Thank God, we’ve caught you’ moment,” Nevius said. “I told the university, ‘Be patient and wait, because this man is so arrogant, he’s going to show it.'”

Now that the O’Neal father and daughter have a new reality TV show about their volatile relationship, more evidence has turned up. In a frame from the clip below, a portrait of Fawcett that looks similar to the one reported missing is shown on Ryan O’Neal’s wall.

Could it be a replica? Did Fawcett indeed will a second portrait to UT beyond that one on display in the Blanton now? The Corpus Christi native certainly loved the University, where she joined a sorority, studied art, and became a muse to sculptor Charles Umlauf before leaving to become a movie star.

But UT officials are mum on the subject. Blanton spokeswoman Kathleen Brady Stimpert says that while museum leaders are reading the news reports with great interest, they have no comment at this time.

Watch the video below and see what you think.

“Farrah Fawcett,” by Andy Warhol, courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art


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