Published: January 16, 2001 Frederick W. Hughes, Andy Warhol’s business manager for more than 25 years, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 57.
The cause was complications of multiple sclerosis, a disease from which he had suffered for 18 years, said Mary-Beth Hansard, his sister.
The impeccably dressed Mr. Hughes was every bit as much of a personality as the pop artist he managed. Known for his acerbic humor, quick wit and inability to pass an antiques store without buying something, Mr. Hughes became the executor of Warhol’s estate when the artist died in 1987 after gall bladder surgery. Warhol’s will left nearly all his assets to charity, specifically to a foundation that his estate was to create ’’for the advancement of the visual arts.’’
Shortly after Warhol’s death, Mr. Hughes founded the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, a Manhattan organization. It became the center of a highly publicized legal battle in the early 1990’s when Edward W. Hayes, the estate’s lawyer, sued the foundation over the fees he said he was entitled to, based on the value of Warhol’s art. Mr. Hayes was awarded $7.2 million, which was reduced on appeal to $3.5 million.
Mr. Hughes ran the foundation until 1990, when he appointed Archibald L. Gillies as its president. The men fought bitterly, and Mr. Hughes was forced out as chairman of the foundation in 1992.
Mr. Hughes was born on July 29, 1943, in Dallas. His father, Frederick W. Hughes, was a representative for several furniture companies. The family moved to Houston in 1947, and Mr. Hughes began taking art classes at the city’s Museum of Fine Arts when he was 7. From 1961 to 1967 he attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where he majored in art history but did not graduate because he failed a theology course.
The art history department at St. Thomas was financed by Jean de Menil and his wife, Dominique, heirs to the Schlumberger oil fortune. The de Menils befriended Mr. Hughes, taking him on art-buying trips to New York and Europe and helping him get his first job, at the Alexander Iolas Gallery in Paris, which represented Magritte and Max Ernst.
Mr. Hughes met Warhol in 1967 at a benefit for Merce Cunningham given at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Caanan, Conn. In an interview in The New Yorker, Mr. Hughes recalled the meeting: ’’I never questioned whether we’d get along or not. For one thing, he knew who I was, and he saw the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, just like I did. I had a nickname, le Dauphin, because I was so well taken care of by the Baron Jean de Menil and his beautiful wife, Dominique. I would buy art for them, and I was a presence at Castelli at my young age.’’
Not only did Mr. Hughes run the Factory, Warhol’s famous studio and hang-out, but he was also the publisher of Interview, the magazine Warhol founded. After Warhol’s death, Mr. Hughes masterminded a 10-day auction at Sotheby’s of Warhol’s personal art and decorative objects. The sale drew crowds of curiosity-seekers who formed lines at Sotheby’s York Avenue auction house. The sale brought $25.3 million, with one buyer paying $250,000 for a cookie jar.
Like Warhol, Mr. Hughes was a compulsive collector. He lived in an ivy-covered town house on the Upper East Side that he called the Hotel Anglomania for its many portraits of English kings and queens. Warhol had lived in the house for 15 years before renting it to Mr. Hughes in 1974. Mr. Hughes bought the house from the estate in 1988 for $593,500.
Besides his sister, he is survived by his mother, Jennie Wilson Hughes, both of Austin, Tex., and a brother, Thomas, of Houston.
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