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ARRL Patrons Donate Warhol Print to League; Auction Proceeds Will Create Endowment

07/07/2015

ARRL patron and well-known Hollywood producer Dave Bell, W6AQ, and his wife Sam, W6QLT (she’s a quilter), have donated a signed Andy Warhol print to the ARRL. The artwork — “Myths: Superman 1981” — will be sold at auction and the proceeds used to create “The Dave Bell, W6AQ, Endowment Fund” to benefit the League. The print’s value has been estimated to be in the vicinity of $150,000. Bell said he wanted to encourage other radio amateurs who might own valuable artworks to consider donating them to the ARRL.

 

“I suspect that I’m not the only amateur art collector among the ham radio population,” Bell told ARRL recently. “I’m not sure that it’s ever occurred to any of these hams that one way to make a donation is to give a painting to the League.”

Bell, a ham since 1951 and a past chairman of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, acquired the Superman print in the early 1990s, and it hung in his Hollywood office for years. “I was looking around for a Warhol, and a friend of mine was an art dealer, and he came across this ‘Superman’ print and he gave me a very good price on it, so I bought it,” Bell said. Bell used to own one other Warhol, which he gave to Hiram College, his alma mater.

Hollywood movie producer David Wolper sold the print to Bell, who said it had hung in Wolper’s screening room for a decade or so. During his own working years, Bell was a television and movie producer. He started TV’s “Unsolved Mysteries” and also produced some movies (“Nadia,” “The Long Walk Home”). Amateur Radio was the focus of some of his productions, including “The World of Amateur Radio” and Amateur Radio Today.” In 2003 the League presented Bell with its first Lifetime Achievement Award, for his work on films and videos about Amateur Radio. “I had an entertaining career,” he punned. He also was 1984’s Dayton Hamvention Amateur of the Year. His book World’s Best Hobby, available from ARRL and elsewhere, details his professional and Amateur Radio lives.

One reason he purchased the Superman print in particular, he said, was that he could imagine an Amateur Radio handheld in the Man of Steel’s outstretched hand. “He should be ‘Superham,’” Bell quipped. He said he suspects that most hams have never seen a Warhol.

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, announced the donation in May at an ARRL donors’ reception in conjunction with Dayton Hamvention®. “Dave and Sam have always supported ARRL most generously, and this latest gift to the Endowment Fund will ensure their support never stops,” President Craigie told the gathering. “I would like to say ‘thank you’ for your thoughtful support. You are truly a ‘Superman’ to ARRL!”

The Bells were unable to attend Hamvention this year, but Dave Bell said he expected to be back in Dayton next spring. Christies in New York is handling the auction of the Warhol print, which will take place in October.

 



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