Pop artist's unauthorized Wayne portrait doubles expectations
Heritage Auction’s sale in Los Angeles on Oct. 6-7 of memorabilia from John Wayne’s personal archives was met with intense bidding, with just three of 743 lots unsold. In total, the sale realized $5.4 million.
Along with costumes, letters, movie scripts and awards, the auction featured a small group of limited edition signed prints by Andy Warhol—including an image of Wayne himself—that were acquired by Wayne’s heirs in a somewhat unusual fashion. According to the Heritage catalogue, a number of years after Wayne’s death, Warhol used an image of him, a publicity still from the movie titled The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, without permission. To resolve the situation, the Warhol Foundation gifted the print, as well as seven other images, to Wayne’s family.
The image of Wayne, catalogued as a signed print from Warhol’s series “Cowboys and Indians,” 1986, was estimated at $20,000/30,000 but instead sold for $77,675, the highest price of the group.
Other works included images of Annie Oakley, General George Custer, and Teddy Roosevelt, as well as images of Kachina dolls and a Northwest coast mask. In all, the eight works realized a total of $265,225.