Kathy Fuld, Wife of Lehman CEO, to Auction Artworks
Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Kathy Fuld, the art-collecting wife of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld, is selling a $20 million set of rare Abstract Expressionist drawings at a November auction, according to two art dealers.
Christie's International, which is offering the works in New York on Nov. 12, declined to reveal the seller's identity. The auction house announced the sale of the drawings, including three by Willem de Kooning, four days after Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history on Sept. 15. Two New York-based dealers who specialize in similar works said Fuld is the seller. They declined to be named.
``These kinds of drawings are extremely rare,'' said Amy Cappellazzo, co-head of Christie's Postwar and contemporary art department. ``The collector considers drawing as a primary art form.''
Richard Fuld earned $34.4 million in 2007 running the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank -- pay that lawyers said may be the target of lawsuits by creditors. He sold Lehman shares that were worth $247 million a year and a half ago for less than $500,000 last week after the stock price collapsed.
The Christie's auction includes the de Koonings, five Barnett Newmans, four Arshile Gorkys and four Agnes Martins. De Kooning's kinetic orange-haired 1951 ``Woman'' in graphite, charcoal, pastel and oil on paper is expected to fetch as much as $4 million.
The collection was assembled over a number of years, according to Cappellazzo, who said the seller first approached Christie's and rival Sotheby's about an auction in the summer. Christie's completed the deal in August, she said. Fuld is well known in the art world for her passion for works on paper. High-Level Buyer ``She buys at the highest level,'' said New York dealer Joan Washburn. ``If you have a great drawing, you offer it to her.'' Fuld is vice-chairman of the board of trustees at New York's Museum of Modern Art and has promised a number of artworks to the museum including works by Jasper Johns and Louise Bourgeois. Phone calls and emails to the press offices of Lehman and MoMA seeking comment from Fuld were unanswered.
Among the drawings slated for sale is a 1946-47 Gorky drawing titled ``Study for Agony I,'' estimated to sell for up to $2.8 million. The drawing is a study for ``Agony,'' a 1947 red and brown abstract painting owned by MoMA.
Newman's 1960 black-and-white ink-on-paper ``Untitled'' is expected to fetch up to $2 million. The same work sold at Sotheby's in New York in 1997 for $244,500, according to the Artnet pricing database. Billionaire Ronald Lauder is listed among prior owners in the 2004 Yale University Press ``Barnett Newman: a Catalogue Raisonne,'' a directory of the artist's output.
The Fulds lent two other Newmans to the artist's 2002 retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, curated by Ann Temkin, who was recently named MoMA's chief curator.
Dealers say the works at auction are a small part of a larger collection which also includes contemporary artists such as Brice Marden. A New York dealer said a Jackson Pollock drawing owned by Fuld was offered for sale this summer at the Art Basel art fair held in June in Switzerland. The works are likely to sell well, some dealers say. ``Judging from the images, I'd say the drawings are all at least A-minus works and my feeling is they will find homes,'' said New York art adviser Thea Westreich.
Since the Lehman collapse, Kathy Fuld has kept up her public appearances. Guests noticed her on Tuesday night at a farewell cocktail party at MoMA for retiring curator Kynaston McShine.
(Lindsay Pollock writes on the art market for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)
To contact the writer of this story: Lindsay Pollock in New York at email@example.com. Last Updated: September 26, 2008 15:33 EDT