Alexandra Peers looks at the Neuberger Berman sale at Sotheby’s and compares Lehman’s art strategy to its investment strategy which she oddly claims was characterized by bottom-fishing mortgages. Had Lehman’s trading practices mirrored the asset manager’s art buying strategy, they might still be in business today:
One insider familiar with the Lehman-Neuberger Berman trove estimate that the two companies spent under $2 million on the art and will end up netting four times that. […] Indeed, Neuberger Berman’s art advisers and curators were known privately for doing with art what Lehman did with subprime mortgages, which is to say they bottom-fished. They bought works by name artists whom they believed in, like John Baldessari, but who had failed to sell at auction. The strategy required a “buy-and-hold” approach, as the artworks, so recently spurned on the auction block, weren’t really salable. But the strategy proved largely successful, as the art market as a whole, and some of the young artists they picked in particular, climbed.
We “bought Rudolf Stingel before [Francois Pinault] did; Mike Kelly before Peter Brant did,” said one insider. The company also bought much through leading London dealer Anthony D’Offay, but also purchased pieces through dealers like Marian Goodman, David Zwirner and Andrea Rosen, occasionally negotiating volume discounts.
Two Years After Its Bankruptcy, Lehman Art Goes on the Block (New York Observer)