Suzanne Lovell Inc

Fine Art

$500 million A. Alfred Taubman trove disappoints at $377 million

November 08, 2015

Within his generation, Modigliani stood with Matisse and Picasso as the only artists who created world-class works in three media: painting, sculpture and drawing.

A highlight of the sale, the Modigliani achieved a favorable sale price of 42,810,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium).

Amedeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920), PAULETTE JOURDAIN, Painted circa 1919. Signed Modigliani (lower right), Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 by 25 3/4 in.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Wednesday, November 4th was the highly anticipated evening sale of A. Alfred Taubman’s fine art collection, appropriately so, at Sotheby’s. Lauded as a seminal sale comparable to 2009’s Yves Saint Laurent Et Pierre Bergé (whose dazzling sale netted $500 million), Taubman’s $500 million trove fell flat at $377 million despite guarantees and efforts made to promote the positive spin on Taubman’s passionate collecting.

Dealer Richard Feigen told reporter Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal after the auction that too many of the works were bought in recent years by Taubman — who was the primary owner of Sotheby’s before going to jail for price-fixing in 2002 — and thus were not particularly fresh to collectors. “He bought auction leavings, and the market knew it,” Feigen told the Journal.

Despite the disappointing results, the fact remains that another important grouping of works has come to market. Enjoy these works for their intrinsic value as Suzanne previewed and selected her favorites from this auction here.

Frank Stella, (b. 1936), DELAWARE CROSSING, 1961, Alkyd on canvas, 77 by 77 in.

This piece was one of the highlights of the auction, and one of the few that performed well. The piece exchanged hands 6 times before Taubman acquired, notably by Rudolf Zwirner, and by Kasmin Limited in April 1969. It was acquired by A. Alfred Taubman in September 1982.

Estimate $8,000,000 — 12,000,000 , LOT SOLD. 13,690,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium)

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Clyfford Still (1904 – 1980), PH-218, 1947
Signed Clyfford Still and dated 1947 (lower right); signed Clyfford and titled PH-218 and inscribed 1947-Ktwice on the reverse
Oil on canvas
63 by 40 in.
Estimate: 10,000,000 — 15,000,000, 
LOT SOLD. 14,810,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium)
Image courtesy of Sotheby’s