Who would have thought that the art handlers would have such leverage in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy? But here’s Bloomberg on the orphaned art collection:
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said it plans to sell about $8 million of artworks warehoused in New York and Paris to help pay creditors.
Lehman, which filed the biggest U.S. bankruptcy Sept. 15 with liabilities of $613 billion, said in a court filing it had a “desire to monetize the art collection through sales, for the benefit of” creditors. It asked the court to let it pay $20,000 in overdue bills to art-handlers who would move artworks to and from the warehouses and display them to prospective purchasers.
“The art collection represents significant value to the debtors’ estates,” Lehman said in a Nov. 10 filing. [ . . . ]
If Lehman doesn’t pay the art handlers’ bills, they have the right under New York state law and French law to seize all the artworks to satisfy their claims, according to the filing.
Turns out the art movers are the unsung stars of the art world. They got this segment on the Leonard Lopate Show on New York’s WNYC.
A few weeks ago the Times had a conversation with Vinnie Verga, an art mover:
There’s an art to handling art. It’s not just about picking up a painting and moving it, or hammering a nail into a wall. It’s a lot more challenging than most people think. You have to know what you’re looking at, and you learn by experience. We become artists to figure out how we are going to hang something that weighs 300 pounds. There is engineering involved, and carpentry skills. [ . . . ] Getting big things into New York buildings is another challenge. Sometimes you have to hoist the piece up through a window, or fold it in half. I’ve even put stuff on the top of elevator cars.