The autumn auction season 2015 will be hot! Christie’s has announced its intention to sell Modigliani’s masterpiece from a “Reclining Nude” series for $100 million. At the same time, its eternal competitor Sotheby’s is going to sell the remarkable collection of its principal owner and ex-chairman A. Alfred Taubman, who passed away this spring at the age of 91. In this way, the unprecedented series of dedicated auctions will start with the largest private art collection ever put up for sale! It includes world-famous works by Raphael Santi, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Mark Rothko, and many other brilliant artists. Some of them are estimated at $25 – 35 million, and the entire collection – at $500 million! In the general account, it comprises 500 different masterpieces including antiques, Impressionist paintings, and works by contemporary artists.
A. Alfred Taubman, a son of Jewish immigrants, made his fortune by developing profitable shopping centers. In 1983, he bought the Sotheby’s auction house for $125 million and turned it into a dynamic international company. Alfred Taubman started collecting in 1950, and in his lifetime he sold just several of his treasured possessions. Thus, it was a very personal collection that reflected the tastes of the owner. At the same time, the billionaire donated a number of artworks to galleries, in particular, to the Detroit Institute of Arts that has a wing named in his honor. However, the Taubman’s reputation was spoiled after his imprisonment for ten months in 2002 for antitrust violations and collusion with his rival, Sir Anthony Tennant from Christie’s.
The precious collection is expected to be sold out in four stages. The most interesting will become the first auction titled “Masterworks” that will be held on November 4. Among its highlights will be “Woman Sitting on a Chair” created by Picasso in 1938, “Portrait of Paulette Jourdain” (1919) by Amedeo Modigliani, and the famous painting by Willem de Kooning “Untitled XXI” (1976). The auctioneers are going to get $25 – 35 million for each of them. Moreover, “No.6 / Sienna, Orange on Wine” created in 1962 and “Untitled (Lavender and Green)” created by Mark Rothko in 1952 are also estimated at $20 – 30 million. The next day, on November 5, Sotheby’s will put up for sale modern and contemporary art masterpieces like John Chamberlain “Captain Cooke” (1988); and on November 18 – works by American artists including Martin Johnson Heade’s “The Great Florida Sunset” (1887) estimated at $7 – 10 million. The paintings by old masters like Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Page,” as well as works by Albrecht Durer, Raphael Santi, and others, will go under the hammer on 27 January 2016. Proceeds from the sale of the A. Alfred Taubman’s collection will go to pay off the tax liability and to create a fund in his name that will support the arts, education, and medical research.