Getty The Red Hot Chili Peppers have always seemed somewhat juvenile, what…
- Posted on Apr 4th 2012 11:30AM by Marwa Hamad
Despite its high resale value, Fields told the Toronto Star he doesn't want to sell. "What I'm really looking for is a museum to approach me. It should be seen by the public," Fields said. "Then they can pay for the insurance."
The painting, done by Warhol at an assumed age of 11 and showing off some of his signature elements with a bright, pop art blocked background and deep red lips, is a drawing of pioneer crooner Rudy Vallee from the 1930s.
Vallee paved the way for legendary musicians like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley by being the first popular "crooner" around, with his gentle, hesitant vocals making their debut through a megaphone during his college years.
The novelty didn't stop there. Vallee, of French-Canadian descent, went on to be the first-ever radio talk show host on what was known as the Rudy Vallee Hour, and was the first to invite black musicians onto his show. Out of appreciation, artists like Louis Armstrong and Josephine Baker would invite Vallee to their clubs in New York.
Warhol contracted chorea at age 9 and was bed-ridden for a few years, forcing him to spend a chunk of his time listening to the radio and learning to draw. This information led Fields and art appraiser Brett Maly to believe that this is when Warhol drew Vallee.
"This guy said he grew up with Warhol and I didn't take any notice," Fields said of the man who sold him the piece. "Everyone in Las Vegas says they knew Elvis or Sinatra or the mob. But he did live a couple of blocks away from the Warhols in the 1940s in Pittsburgh."
The tattered art piece wouldn't be the last time Warhol would mix art with music. In 1965, he became the manager of groundbreaking New York rock band The Velvet Underground, with his name fueling their rise to fame. He helped the band sign with MGM's Verve Records and stayed on as their producer, but gave the band creative freedom over their sound. In return, the band became the soundtrack to the artist's multimedia road show, Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
Amongst other accomplishments listed on Vallee's website, including being the first to record Casablanca's "As Time Goes By" and writing an autobiography titled "Vegabond Dreams Come True," Vallee is said to have saved sheet music during the Great Depression when everything except his music virtually ceased to sell. In the '60s, Vallee made a comeback by starring in the Broadway hit "How to Succeed in Business without Even Trying," and later starred in the movie rendition.
Vallee died at age 84 in 1986, a year before Warhol passed away at age 58.