Lindsay Pollock has a revealing story on Bloomberg about the troubled art collection of Halsey Minor. The Virginia-based internet entrepreneur has had a combative relationship with both Sotheby’s and Christie’s getting involved into lawsuits over works he bought but would not pay for or disputes about sales.
Pollock’s story reveals that Minor bought two signature works from artists in dealer Larry Gagosian’s stable–a Richard Prince “Nurse” painting and an example of Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge. The “Nurse” had once belonged to Steven Cohen. (No doubt the collector had traded up to a better example.) Does anyone think Minor drove a hard bargain on these works?
Meanwhile, Minor had pledged art as collateral against a large loan. The loan is in default but not before Minor muddied the waters by cutting a deal–and taking an advance–from Christie’s. Pollock gives some of those details:
ML Private Finance, an affiliate of Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, has petitioned a New York federal court to allow the liquidation of a collection of contemporary art and design pieces through auctions in May and June by Christie’s International, which valued the trove at more than $17 million.
The proposed sales would resolve a delinquent loan to CNET Networks Inc. founder Halsey Minor, who borrowed $25 million from ML Private Finance beginning in 2007, with art as collateral. The bank sued Minor and his trust in December 2008 for failure to repay the loan. Last October, ML Private Finance obtained a court judgment for $21.6 million, and this year petitioned the court to allow Christie’s to auction 103 works.