The New York Observer wants to raise expectations for the Neuberger Berman sale being held at Sotheby’s on Saturday. They’ve handicapped the sale suggesting that a failure for Damien Hirst will cripple his market and a sale for Julie Mehretu will ignite hers. But the strongest statement from the Observer comes here:
Sotheby’s is expecting to raise as much as $10 million from the sale of 147 artworks. “The sale’s a litmus test for corporate collecting. If most of the art sells, this would signify the return liquidity to the contemporary art market and the viability of institutional art collecting of works by emerging artists.”
It seems hard to imagine that anyone financial institution, in this day and age, would be allocating cash toward art. Almost all of the corporate collections that have been sold in recent months were of works acquired in very different eras. The Neuberger Berman art is only on the block because of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. When Neuberber was sold from Lehman in the initial bankruptcy proceedings two years ago, the firm was given the option of buying the art after a year. They declined because the purchase would be hard for any firm to defend.
Eye on Lehman Art (NY Observer)