As the fallout from the contracting economy continues, the art market is seeing a number of corporate collections be sold. Law.com has the details of a failed law firm’s art that will be sold by Bonhams & Butterfields:
Starting next month in New York, bankrupt law firm Heller Ehrman will sell off hundreds of artworks to repay a small portion of its debt. The largely contemporary collection is expected to fetch between $610,000 and $1 million in a slow art market, according to bankruptcy papers and the auctioneer hired to conduct the sale.
The first of the pieces will go on sale at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the 580 Madison Ave. offices of auctioneer Bonhams & Butterfields. That will be followed one week later by a sale in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles. Still more pieces will go on sale next year on the West Coast.
Among the at least 10 items on the block in New York will be works by Canadian painter Marcel Dzama, U.S. sculptor Julie Speidel and British painter John Monks. The pieces, which date from 2001, are expected to fetch a total of between $19,500 and $28,000.
Martin Gammon, director of business development for Bonhams, acknowledged the art will be going on the block at a time when “the art market is somewhat down from its highs of 2007.” But he said he expected the Heller auctions to be successful.
“In this particular instance, the pieces are post-war and contemporary, which has seen some deflation, but most of that speculation took place at the very high-end of the marketplace, pieces that were selling for hundreds of millions of dollars,” Gammon said. “This is all, I would say, very well selected and well curated material.”
Peter Benvenutti, the chair of Heller Ehrman’s dissolution committee who is now at Jones Day in San Francisco, said he expected the auction to generate “a small fraction of the original cost” of the art, which he said was substantially more than $1 million. “The short of it is the timing of the sale is not driven by the art market. The timing of the sale is driven by the process in the dissolution and bankruptcy case,” Benvenutti said.