Warhol Foundation Slaps Former Bodyguard with Lawsuit

Andy Warhol, Liz (1963).
Photo: Getty Images.
Note: This is not the actual artwork in question mentioned in the article, it is one from the same series.

On Friday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern signed an order blocking a Warhol painting, an iconic 1964 Liz silkscreen, from being moved or sold. Pending a hearing on November 5, the decision was rendered in a suit filed by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in which the foundation accused the Pop art maestro’s bodyguard of stealing the work.

As reported by Bloomberg, Warhol Foundation officials say that Agusto Bugarin, employed by Warhol in the years just prior to the artist’s death in 1987, stole the work and hung it in his home for 30 years. Bugarin claims that the artist gifted the painting to him in 1984, in exchange for helping Warhol renovate an apartment.

“Bugarin is a liar and a thief,” the foundation states in the complaint filed with the state Supreme Court in Manhattan. The foundation finds Bugarin’s story implausible because the painting in question was already worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at the time of the supposed gift. According to the lawsuit, Bugarin has lately been trying to sell the work through New York’s Taglialatella Galleries.

In today’s art market, the 42-by-44-inch canvas would be worth upwards of $30 million. Last Friday, Justice Cynthia Kern in Manhattan signed an order blocking the painting from being moved or sold, pending a hearing on Nov. 5.

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