Investment bank Lehman Brothers imploded into dramatic bankruptcy last year, and now they’re finally selling the art off the walls.
Surprisingly for such a notoriously spendthrift brand, especially one run by a CEO with a $15 million personal art collection, Lehman doen’t have a lot of bick ticket items on the block.
When the collection hits the auction block on Sunday in Philadelphia, proceeds will go to pay creditors, but they won’t be throwing any ticker tape parades about being made whole. Like so much about the Lehman legacy, the collection turns out not to be worth much. Freeman’s Auctioneers & Appraisers estimates that the 283 lots for sale are worth about $750,000 in total. [...]
Compared with other investment banks, however, Lehman Brothers didn’t make its corporate art collection a major priority, people close to it say. Many of the works are by unknowns, meant primarily to decorate wall space. UBS, by contrast, owns 40,000 art objects, including works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, which they loan to museums like the Tate in London. JP Morgan Chase is also known for having a significant collection, established 50 years ago by David Rockefeller.
The collection comprises mainly 20th century prints, photographs and paintings. Some of the standout pieces include a print by Alexander Calder ($800-$1,200 estimate), a Statue of Liberty lithograph by Roy Lichtenstein ($15,000-$25,000 estimate), and a set of 9 Walker Evans photogravures of the Brooklyn Bridge ($1,000-$1,500 estimated), but there are plenty of neat pieces for a few hundred dollars.
There will be two more Lehman sales after this, paintings and sculpture on December 6th and 450 more prints on February 12.