Lehman Bros. art sale to benefit bank's creditors
By ULA ILNYTZKY
NEW YORK — More than 400 works from the corporate contemporary art collection once displayed at Lehman Brothers will be auctioned this fall to help pay creditors of the failed investment bank, Sotheby's announced yesterday.
The selected works from the Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers Corporate Art Collection are scheduled to be sold on Sept. 25, pending bankruptcy court approval, the auction house said.
The collection, which Sotheby's says is valued at more than $10 million, includes works by some of the leading artists of contemporary art, including Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince and Julie Mehretu.
Sale proceeds will go to creditors of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, helping spark one of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.
Among the highlights is Hirst's "We've Got Style," (The Vessel Collection-Blue), a wood cabinet filled with glass and ceramic objects created in 1993. Its pre-sale estimate is $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Many of the works, which had lined the corridors and board rooms of Lehman and Neuberger, "were acquired from cutting-edge and emergent artists who have since evolved into the vanguards of the contemporary art world," said Kelly Wright, who is overseeing the evaluation and sale of the works for Lehman.
Gabriela Palmieri, Sotheby's contemporary art expert, said "it was a collection to inspire the workplace, not just for decoration."
"It was a very provocative collection," she said.
Lehman Brothers Holdings spokeswoman Kimberly Macleod said the bank felt the auction was an excellent "platform to maximize the value of the collection to pay creditors."
Lehman and the management company Neuberger Berman combined in 2003 and also combined their art collections. Neuberger has since re-emerged as an independent firm. Its founder, Roy Neuberger, was a major art collector who established the Neuberger Museum of Art on the campus of the State University of New York in Purchase.