On May 14 Sotheby’s will test the market for Mr. Richter’s Photo Realist paintings when it puts “Domplatz, Mailand [Cathedral Square, Milan]” up for sale in New York.
This 1968 work, which depicts both the Milan Duomo and the square’s 19th-century shopping arcade in a marriage of religion and commerce, was a winner before. In 1998 Sotheby’s sold it in London, where it fetched what was then a record price for Mr. Richter, $3.6 million.
The buyer was the Pritzker family, majority shareholders in the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. And since the Hyatt Hotel in Chicago opened in 2000 the painting has been hanging there. “We’re thrilled that a very good acquisition has turned into a very great masterpiece,” said Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt’s chief executive.
But the painting, expected to bring $35 million to $45 million when it goes up for sale in May, is now too valuable to hang in a hotel. Part of the proceeds from the sale will go toward putting art in the Hyatt’s international network of hotels, a program that also involves reaching out to local artists.