In 2008, Heinz Eppler acknowledged the vast increase in the value of his art collection and sold a Mark Rothko work at Sotheby’s with a substantial guarantee in the region of, as the auction houses like to say, $35m. The work failed failed to find a buyer even though another vibrant red and yellow work made $50m at Christie’s.
The failure didn’t impact Eppler who had bought early and well. Most likely, Sotheby’s and Robert Mnuchin (who was reported to be the outside backer on the guarantee) made out just fine on the private market. Eppler’s heirs, the former CEO died in 2012, followed the collector’s lead and got a guarantee from Christie’s for the remainder of the art in the estate.
In November, Christie’s will sell 27 works with an aggregate estimate of $60m during the sales. A monumental Franz Kline (left) and a pivotal Williem de Kooning (right) will lead the collection. The Kline is estimated at $20m and a number that reflects the more historical than aesthetic appeal of the de Kooning.
Beyond the headline works, the Epplers have a William Baziotes, Lee Krasner and Calder that might attract real attention along with a Picasso painting of Dora Maar estimated at between $4-6m, as well as a David Smith sculpture, one of two that will be featured in New York that week, with a $5-7m estimate range. There’s also an Arshile Gorky drawing the Epplers bought from dealer Alan Stone.