Following the announcement last week of plans to stage an additional 20th art century week in December, Christie’s has secured a group of 80 works from the collection of Cleveland billionaire philanthropists Morton and Barbara Mandel to go up for auction in the house’s live contemporary art sales between December 2-3.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the late collectors’ family organization, The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. The works are expected to achieve a collective price in excess of $15.5 million.
Mandel, who died in 2019, together with his brothers Jack and Joseph, for whom the foundation is named, co-founded the Cleveland-based auto-parts company Premier Industrial Corp, which would later develop into a $3 billion electronics supplier. As philanthropists, Morton and Barbara Mandel were known as major benefactors to Brandeis University and to the Cleveland Museum of Art, where the building’s Armor Court is named for the Mandel brothers.
The couple amassed there collection from the 1970s to 1990s, purchasing many of their works from Pace Gallery. In 2018, 26 works, many by American postwar artists from the Mandel collection sold for a total of $107.8 million at Sotheby’s in New York.
Among the top lots from the Mandel holdings to sell at Christie’s is Pablo Picasso’s Femme debout, a large-scale single-figure grey canvas from 1927, which will be offered during the houses’s “20th Century: Hong Kong to New York” relay-style sale at their Rockefeller center location on December 2. It is expected to achieve a price between $4-6 million. According to Christie’s in a statement, it is an example from Picasso’s “tableaux magiques” series made between 1926 and 1930, which the auction house describes as invoking features from tribal art, Surrealism, and Cubism. The work passed by descent from the artist’s estate to his daughter Paloma Picasso. Later, the Mandel’s purchased it through PaceWildenstein in the late 1990s.
Other highlights to be sold in the December 3 contemporary art day sale include Jackson Pollock ’s 1953 untitled black drip drawing estimated at $1.2 million-$1.8 million, along with Ad Reinhardt’s 1950 Red Painting estimated between $700,000-$1 million. Each of the works have been in the Mandel collection since the 1990s.