LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A jury will decide whether Ryan O’Neal can keep or be forced to hand over an Andy Warhol portrait of the late Farrah Fawcett to her alma mater, the University of Texas.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis denied a motion by O’Neal’s attorneys to dismiss the school’s case. Trial is scheduled for Nov. 27.
The judge, who heard arguments Monday and issued her ruling on Wednesday, said there said are triable issues regarding who owns the portrait as well as a napkin drawing featuring a montage of hearts that O’Neal says Warhol inscribed to him and to Fawcett.
O’Neal, 71, was romantically involved with Fawcett, the mother of his son Redmond, off-and-on for several decades. They never wed. The actress was 62 when she died of cancer on June 25, 2009.
The school sued O’Neal in August 201,1 after the Warhol portrait of Fawcett was seen in the actor’s home during an episode of the reality TV show “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.” Lawyers for the university maintain the portrait is school property because Fawcett agreed to donate all her artwork to her alma mater after her death.
Both sides agree Warhol created two portraits. The school has one of them and wants the other, as well.
O’Neal maintains that when Warhol created the paintings, the artist said he wanted Fawcett to have one of the portraits and the “Love Story” actor the other.
O’Neal says he never relinquished his ownership interest in the napkin drawing and that it was removed from Fawcett’s home after her death and given to the university. He has countersued to get it back and also wants unspecified damages.
Warhol was a leading figure in pop art who died in 1987 at age 58.
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