RONALD PERELMAN, who’s sold more than $200 million of art from his extensive collection in recent months, is putting more trophies on the block.
The billionaire owner of Revlon Inc. is offering a group of works at a Christie’s auction on Oct. 6 that could bring more than $180 million, including paintings by Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the pieces are being offered anonymously.
Since the end of July, Sotheby’s has disposed of more than $200 million of Perelman’s art, both privately and at auction. Some proceeds from the sales were slated to pay down loans from Citigroup, Inc., according to people with knowledge of the arrangements.
Representatives for Perelman and Christie’s declined to comment.
Perelman’s offerings have been a major boon for auction houses in what has been a difficult year for the art market. The global pandemic dramatically reduced the volume of sales, canceled live events and upended the decades-old calendar and formats.
Christie’s added the October sale — which will be live-streamed from New York — ahead of its traditional November auctions. Perelman’s consignment was finalized last week and by Friday paintings by Rothko and De Kooning were in Hong Kong for private viewings, according to a person familiar with the deal.
Perelman’s investment company, MacAndrews & Forbes, said in July it was reworking its holdings in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the ravages it caused to American businesses, including his own. The 77-year-old said in a statement last week that the time had come for him “to clean house, simplify and give others the chance to enjoy some of the beautiful things that I’ve acquired just as I have for decades.”
Christie’s said it will offer Rothko’s 1967 Untitled, with a $30 million to $50 million estimate. The work last sold at auction for $1.2 million in 1998, according to the Artnet database. Perelman bought it privately in 2002.
De Kooning’s 1953-1955 Woman (Green) may fetch $20 million to $30 million, according to Christie’s website.
Also on Oct. 6, Sotheby’s will offer an abstract canvas by Gerhard Richter, owned by Perelman and estimated at $15 million to $18 million, at its contemporary auction in Hong Kong, testing Asia’s demand for high-end Western contemporary art.
BILLIONAIRE SELLING BOTTICELLI
Sheldon Solow bought a rare portrait by Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli for $1.3 million in 1982. The nonagenarian Manhattan real estate tycoon plans to sell it for more than $80 million next year through Sotheby’s.
Young Man Holding a Roundel will be sold anonymously in January in a test of the ultra high-end art market after the pandemic restricted sales and largely caused the cancelation of live auctions that are the lifeblood of the industry. Over the years, the portrait was loaned to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from 2013 until February.
“It is a masterpiece,” said Robert Simon, an Old Master dealer who was part of the consortium that discovered Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi. “It’s one of the finest Renaissance portraits to appear on the market in decades.”
Solow is owner of the iconic skyscraper at 9 West 57th in Midtown Manhattan that counts hedge funds, private equity firms and luxury goods giant Chanel as tenants. Born in Brooklyn, he’s now worth $3.7 billion and is renowned as a collector of top-quality modern and postwar art.
Sotheby’s declined to comment on the identity of the seller, noting in its provenance that the painting was purchased at an auction in 1982 for 810,000 pounds — or $1.3 million at the time. Solow didn’t return calls for comment.
Created around 1480, the canvas depicts a handsome young man with a small tondo of a saint in his hands. That work — an original 14th-century piece attributed to the Sienese painter Bartolomeo Bulgarini — was inserted into the Botticelli canvas, according to Christopher Apostle, head of Sotheby’s Old Master paintings department in New York. The identity of the subject is unclear, although it’s been suggested he may have been a member of the Medici family.
Like Da Vinci, Botticelli (1445-1510) has a worldwide appeal.
“The first art book your mom gives you is likely to include Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Primavera,” Apostle said about two famous masterpieces at the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. “There’s a built-in love for this artist.”
The highest price for Botticelli at auction, $10.4 million, was achieved in 2013 for The Rockefeller Madonna: Madonna and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist. — Bloomberg