The Nightly Business Report does a feature on the upcoming Rockefeller sale at Christie’s slated for this May. David Rockefeller Jr. talks about the sale and his family’s emphasis on using the proceeds to support social institutions.
Sotheby’s announced the $75m collection of Cleveland auto parts billionaires Morton and Barbara Mandel will be offered in their May sales in New York to benefit the Mandel family’s foundation. The lead lot is a Joan Miró late work estimated at $10-15m, a Barnett Newman work on paper estimated at $800k to $1.2m; a Mark Rothko late work on paper with a $7-10m estimate; a de Kooning from 1978 with an $8-12m estimate; Roy Lichtenstein’s work from the 1970s with a $7-10m estimate; a Donald Judd stack with a $8-12m estimate and a 1964 Warhol flowers painting with a $2-3m estimate.
Here’s Sotheby’s release on the collection:
As Mr. Mandel has said, he and his wife “collected to enrich their lives” and the result is a powerful and personal collection that has remained largely unseen by the public until now. Inspired by the legendary Leo Castelli, who encouraged the couple to focus on a core group of artists, and Arne Glimcher of Pace Gallery, the Mandels carefully assembled their collection over decades. The works have been thoughtfully installed in their homes – creating dynamic juxtapositions of Joan Miró with David Smith, and Roy Lichtenstein with Willem deKooning – and enjoyed each and every day.
Women’s Wear Daily announced the death of fashion designer and art collector, Hubert de Givenchy. A member of Christie’s board, Givenchy sold €32m of Diego Giacometti’s design objects and furniture last year:
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, the 6’6” French aristocrat who founded the house of Givenchy in 1952, died on Saturday at the age of 91, his family said on Monday. […] With his perfect manners and old-school discipline, Givenchy had a distinguished presence that colored the fashion industry for over fifty years. A consummate collector with an impeccable eye for objects as well as the interior decoration of houses, he leaves behind a fashion house that defined the very notions of refinement and elegance.
Here’s Nick Foulkes in the Financial Times’s How to Spend It magazine describing him:
Givenchy is a survivor of the golden age of haute couture. He clothed the most beautiful women of an elegant time: Gloria Guinness, Babe Paley, Daisy Fellowes and Mona von Bismarck among them. Nicknamed the Tarzan of fashion because of his towering frame, he worked for Jacques Fath, Lucien Lelong and Schiaparelli, before founding his couture house in 1952, aged just 25. A couple of years later, the newspaper L’Express told its readers that he was to haute couture what Françoise Sagan was to literature and Bernard Buffet to painting: successful, glamorous, gorgeous and very, very French. Givenchy famously dressed Audrey Hepburn on and off screen and lived up to the image of the dashing French aristocrat that he was, never less than impeccable in a Huntsman or Cifonelli suit and sky-blue shirt with white collar and cuffs from Charvet. He was such a shoo-in for the Vanity Fair Best Dressed List that he was kicked upstairs into the Hall of Fame to give others a chance. He travelled the world surrounded by beautiful women, promoting an empire of fashion, fragrances and accessories – and by the time he sold his business to LVMH, he was richer and more famous than those who had been his customers.
An exclusive interview with Hubert de Givenchy (How To Spend It)
James Tarmy has an interesting story on Bloomberg about the Rockefeller estate which will come to market at Christie’s over the next few months. David Rockefeller had a good eye and a keen trading sense. As Tarmy points out, the success of Rockefeller’s Rothko sold at the pre-credit crisis peak of the market for $73m was bought for $10,000 53 years earlier.
The capital gains on that sale caused Rockefeller to make plans to dispose of his art in a way that would maximize the value to charity. The subsequent competition between auction houses became legend within the industry. Rockefeller’s representatives were the toughest of customers. They drove a very hard bargain which has left some bruised feelings even years later.
No one can confirm the final guarantee level (and it is said to include a toggle that gives the estate an additional advantage) but $750m is a safe number to work with on what the estate was expected to generate.
That’s a big number even for Rockefeller. Christie’s approached the market gingerly. In January, some of the top works—Picasso, Matisse and Monet—were released to the press with estimates of $70m, $50m and $35m respectively. Since then, Christie’s has clearly gotten good feedback from the market as it tours the works to Asia and Europe.Continue Reading
Sotheby’s have added an evening sale to Asia Week New York for The Chew Family Collection of Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy. The March 22 auction will feature seventy-six paintings and calligraphy assembled by two generations of the Chew family. The collection has the added luster of the Chew family’s friendship with Zhang Daqian and includes one of his works previously unknown to the public (above). In 2011, during the first year of exploding art sales among Mainland Chinese buyers, Zhang Daqian was the third most valuable artist by sales volume at the three major auction houses worldwide. Sotheby’s has a short but enlightening video on the artist that is worth viewing.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit two trusts established by Frances Chew prior to her passing to continue her mission and to benefit those in need. Here’s Sotheby’s release on the Chews and Zhang
THE CHEW FAMILY COLLECTION
In the 1930s, Joan Chew, daughter of famous revolutionary officer General Wu Luzhen, arrived in the United States to study music at the University of Southern California. There she met and married Thomas Chew, a fellow student at the business school; together they managed a number of businesses in import, export and Chinese antiquities, including the Great Wall Inc. in Los Angeles, China Commerce Co. in San Francisco and the China Art Center in Carmel. In Carmel, where Frances, Joan and Thomas put down roots, the Chew Family managed the Dolores Lodge, which became a favorite rest stop for the celebrated modern painter, Zhang Daqian, and his friends.
Frances Chew was a brilliant student and accomplished athlete, graduating from Mills College before travelling to the Sorbonne in Paris and Yale University to study and teach French literature. Following her father’s untimely passing, she returned to California to support her mother, to manage the China Art Center, and to become a mentee of Zhang Daqian. In her own words, “it was a way [Zhang Daqian] communicated – quick, deep insights on art and on life. It was not something to be analyzed or explained. For those who understand, no explanation was necessary, for those who didn’t, no explanation was possible.” In the 1980s, Frances left California to pursue a vocation with the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Theresa to care for the sick and the poor; over the next decade, she, then known as Sister Asha, lived and worked in New York, Rome and Haiti, before returning home in 1992 to take care of her mother. Frances Chew passed away in early 2017.
ZHANG DAQIAN AND THE CHEW FAMILY
One of, if not the most, illustrious modern Chinese artist of his time, Zhang Daqian emigrated to the United States in 1967, living first in Carmel and later in Monterey. There, he befriended the Chew Family, staying at the Dolores Lodge whenever he travelled to Carmel. During these visits, Zhang Daqian and the Chews exchanged gifts including the artist’s own works such as Water and Sky Gazing after Rain in Splashed Color and Five Fortunes, which Zhang inscribed with wishes for the Chews’ 60th birthday. Zhang also inscribed paintings by other artists, including Yun Shouping’sLandscapes After Song and Yuan Masters, Tao Cheng’s Wild Rabbit Amongst Bamboo and Chrysanthemum, and Lin Liang’s Two Geese in an Autumn Lotus Pond and Two Pheasants Under a Wintry Willow Tree.
Christie’s rushed out an announcement this morning that the house had secured the art collection of Joan and Preston Tisch. Joan died late last year at 90 years old. Today, Christie’s is announcing a Miró and De Kooning for the May sales. There will be more works announced later:
Encompassing over 40 objects in total, The Collection of Joan and Preston Robert Tisch is expected to realize in excess of $80 million. The collection includes works by some of the leading names of the recent art historical canon. From strikingly modern bronzes by Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore to boldly-colored canvases by Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso and others, it is a dynamic lesson in 20th century creativity.
Collection proceeds will go to the Tisch family foundations to continue the couple’s lifelong philanthropic mission. Joan and Preston Robert Tisch sought to share this same visual and intellectual delight in the public sphere. The couple continuously contributed leadership and substantial financial backing to institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home of the Tisch Galleries, and the Museum of Modern Art, where Joan Tisch served as a trustee and posthumously donated works by artists including Léger, Braque, and Giacometti.
A selection of works will be on view in Christie’s King Street galleries from February 20 – March 8. Among the highlights being exhibited are Joan Miro’s Femme entendant de la musique, 1945 ($10,000,000-15,000,000) and Willem De Kooning’s Untitled XVIII, 1976 (estimate: $8,000,000-12,000,000). Further details on the collection will be available in the coming months.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has released the testimony of Glenn Simpson, the private investigator who was looking into Donald Trump’s financial relationships and investors. As many remember, Dmitry Rybolovlev has been linked to the President through a number of financial and social relationships.
From the transcripts released yesterday, we can see that Simpson was interested in the art, real estate, and society milieu were Rybolovlev, Trump and others connected:
Another one that I think surfaced in probably the early winter was the amazing number of people from the former Soviet Union who had purchased properties from Mr. Trump, including Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased a derelict estate at an extreme markup in Florida. And a number of other people bought Into his properties. […] The other one that I would subpoena is the related group, and they were the ones that were involved with the Trump Hollywood. And there was a lot of interesting transactions involving the Trump Hollywood. And that was — that’s a guy named Jorge Perez, who’s a major developer who was in the picture with Sergi Millian and Donald Trump that I was talking about previously.
And there is a very puzzling sequence of events that we spent a lot of time looking at […] there is a specific sequence of events that has intrigued us for a long time, where Cohen and lvanka and Jared and Trump, and I can’t remember whether Manafort’s in this mix too, are all in the Hamptons area in August, and Dmitry Rybolovlev’s plane is somewhere nearby, and flies to Nice. And then most of these guys sort of come off — fall off the radar and then, you know, I think it’s the 12th of August, Rybolovlev’s plane lands in Dubrovnik, and Jared and lvanka surface in Dubrovnik. And I don’t know how they got there or whether they got there on his plane.
The plane, you know, we have been told that Rybolovlev’s boat was also nearby. There were all these other yachts nearby and that, you know, there had been rumors of meetings between Trump people and Russians on yachts off Dubrovnik.’ And the Rybolovlev jet then flies to Budapest from Dubrovnik. And I can’t tell you whether it’s meaningful or not, but there are certainly things I was interested in and still find unanswered and intriguing. I guess the same would — again, I don’t know what Mr. Cohen has told you, but his public statements about his whereabouts I found unsatisfying.
The direct connection between Trump and Rybolovlev, a $95m Florida real estate deal, was initially dismissed by Simpson because of Rybolovlev’s well-publicized pattern of over-spending on real estate and art. Here’s what Simpson said in response to California Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s questions:Continue Reading
The FT’s got an obsession with imagining the art market is a cesspool of illicit activity. The latest comes in an Alphaville post citing both statistics that show a great deal of asset flight from Saudi Arabia and some research on the popularity of art during World War II as a vehicle to get capital out of Europe.
The result has the FT constructing the Salvator Mundi sale as conduit for cash:
- “The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia recently transferred hundreds of millions of dollars of his nation’s wealth to a Russian oligarch via a painting of Jesus. Why he did so is unclear. […] Whatever bin Salman’s particular motivation, moving money out of Saudi Arabia is a national pastime.”
It is hard to see how Saudi Arabia’s MBS benefits by having parked his $450m in nearby Abu Dhabi when there’s no evidence the work can be sold anywhere near that level (maybe it can and maybe it can’t but the FT is far more confident the picture is a negotiable instrument than anyone else in the art market.) It’s even harder to imagine how anyone can make a comparison between the existential crisis Europeans faced during the war and present day Saudi Arabia; or, how one could compare ordinary citizens trapped on a continent consumed by a war buying art to preserve some of their evaporating assets and the son of nation’s sovereign who has been given political control of the country.
But, hey, it’s art. So the buyer must have some nefarious ulterior motive.
In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ. magazine profiled Glenstone, the private museum Mitch and Emily Rales are building in Potomac, MD. You’ll want to read the whole piece to get a sense of the size and scope of the museum but here’s reference point:
“The scale of it is kind of mind-blowing—it’s got more exhibition space than the Whitney. It dwarfs the Beyeler [Foundation],” says dealer Larry Gagosian, in reference to the Swiss museum established by the late Hildy and Ernst Beyeler. “It’s pretty much unprecedented from a private collector.”
Size isn’t the only factor. Rales became interested in collecting art when looking for a outlet beyond his business but that doesn’t mean he left his business practices behind:
With methodical precision, the Raleses have quietly assembled the largest individual holdings of works by more than 20 contemporary stars—including [Vija Celmins], Roni Horn, Martin Puryear, Sherrie Levine, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse and Jeff Wall—often spanning their entire careers. They also have important works by the likes of David Hammons, Robert Gober, Ellsworth Kelly and Jason Rhoades.
“In our businesses we like to be the No. 1 or No. 2 player in everything that we do,” says Mitch. “I would reckon to say that we are the No. 1 or 2 player in most of the artists we collect.” Emily adds, “If we know we can’t acquire a masterpiece of an artist—for example, of Barnett Newman—we won’t even go there.”