Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Bela Lugosi Painting by Richard Sheffield. Bela Lugosi, Hollywood's immortal Count Dracula, seems to inhabit this portrait, body and soul -- and maybe he does! The back story: In 1953, Los Angeles teenager F. Richard Sheffield, Jr, fascinated by the Lugosi persona, met his idol one Saturday at the fading star's modest apartment. Although Lugosi was failing, Sheffield sensed the power of the old magic (as well as the man's genuine charm and kindness) and fell under his formidable spell. He became the star's devoted "acolyte" for the last three years of Lugosi's life, and throughout the actor's final real-life melodramas -- including his drug addiction, alcoholism, and final (and stormy) marriage. (He even watched Bela acting his never-finished role in his posthumously released Plan 9 from Outer Space.) Sheffield asked Lugosi if he could paint his portrait, and after the star proved a restless subject, the teenager opted to use one of Bela's favorite photos. It was a strikingly devilish portrait from 1930, when Bela was campaigning to star in Universal's film of Dracula after his triumph in the vampire role on Broadway. (More than 20 years after it was taken, Bela was still sending it out in response to fan mail.) Sheffield painted the portrait over two consecutive Saturdays in the backyard of his friend Michael Spencer, under the tutelage of Michael's mother Ethel, who was an accomplished amateur artist. The result exceeded the expectations of both artist and subject -- a portrait that's both dashing and demonic, capturing Bela in all his spellbinding, Dracula-as-matinee idol glory. Sheffield nailed the details -- the blue eyes, even the mole on the left cheek -- and the background is properly fiery, as if we're beholding Dracula in hell. The canvas is 23" x 29," and signed "F. Sheffield '53" in the lower right corner. Bela, as Sheffield recalls, was

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    6th-7th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 650

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 November 9 Entertainment - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Just received the catalog. Incredible! Never seen such a catalog and have been collecting since 1974. Congratulations!
    Philipp K.,
    Marina Del Ray, CA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 March 16 - 17 Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 March 16 - 17 Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,070,365