Andy Warhol is once again at the center of a controversy regarding an allegedly stolen painting said to be worth several million dollars. The Andy Warhol Foundation is suing Agusto Bugarin, Warhol’s former bodyguard, over a Liz Taylor canvas that went missing some 30 years ago.
According to Bugarin the Liz Taylor painting in his possession given to him for renovation work done on the apartment of Andy Warhol’s lover, Jon Gould. A very generous gift indeed considering at the time the piece was already valued at over 100 thousand dollars – well over Bugarin’s annual salary.
While there is no documentation that records this transaction, Bugarin says that it was kept confidential because the apartment was for Warhol’s lover that no one knew about at the time. The Andy Warhol Foundation is confident that Bugarin has no case and is a “patient thief” who has waited 30 years to sell the painting “after everyone he thought could challenge his ownership of the work had died.”
Working against Bugarin is that there are records that a Liz Taylor painting was reported as missing around the time he was “gifted” this expensive piece of art. Not to mention, at the time of Andy’s death in 1987, Bugarin was asked to return all works of art in his possession and reluctantly returned four pieces that were not his.
Was Andy Warhol, who was as famous for his elusiveness as he was for paintings of Campbell’s Soup Cans, using this painting as a form of bribery to hide a secret relationship? Was he struck with an extremely unusual case of generosity?
Or is this just another one to add to the list of bottom feeders who have tried to take advantage of Warhol’s success by association? The questions surrounding this sensational revelation will be acknowledged as the evidence is piling up in the days leading up to the trial.
While fate of this incredibly valuable Andy Warhol painting remains to be determined, this lawsuit testifies to how Warhol’s success, fame and continues to influence popular culture. It’s been almost thirty years after Warhol’s death and he’s still making headlines.