When a British tourist came back from Las Vegas with a $5 painting he'd bought at a garage sale and told everybody he was pretty sure a 10-year-old Andy Warhol had done it, people flipped out, but now Warhol's brother and a bevy of art experts say its a fake. Everybody wanted to believe so badly that this was real: Headlines stated unequivocally that the image of singer Rudy Vallee was a Warhol, which tourist Andy Fields brought from a drug addict who said his aunt used to babysit the pop-art icon. But now that it's going on display at the Royal Western Academy, folks are lining up to throw some cold water on the story.
There are certainly some inconsistencies in last month's reports of Fields' account that he lucked into the painting at a garage sale in 2010 but then realized it was a Warhol years later: Fields told The Telegraph's Hannah Furness that the vendor "told him his aunt used to care for Warhol when he was a child," though he can no longer find the guy. RWA's announcement of its display says "Mr. Fields discovered the sketch inside a framed drawing of William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy by Gertrude Stein – a Pittsburgh-born artist and writer who was painted by Warhol in later life." A Stanford University Stein expert, Wanda Corn, told the site Warholstars: "She NEVER made drawings or any other kind of visual art and the signature is not hers. Nor was she interested in popular films." But the RWA believes the other image is a real Warhol, and puts the value at $2 million. Fields, for his part, says he's not interested in selling.