More on Economy and Art

As Congress does its best to come up with a recovery plan and the presidential candidates prepare for their first debate, more news has come out on the substantial nexus between the economic elite and the art world.

Bloomberg’s Art Muse column is reporting that Kathy Fuld, wife of the CEO of Lehman Bros., has placed a “$20 million set of rare Abstract Expressionist drawings” from her personal collection on sale at Christie’s. The drawings, including three by Willem de Kooning, will go on sale November 12 at Christie’s New York auction house. The sale was announced “four days after Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.” Though the seller hasn’t been identified by Christie’s, Bloomberg has confirmed with two unnamed art dealers that Fuld is the seller.

Bloomberg goes on to say that both Christie’s and Sotheby’s were approached over the summer regarding the sale of the collection, which “was assembled over a number of years.” Arrangements were finalized with Christie’s in August.

Though the sale will be an important one, experts say “the works at auction are a small part of a larger collection which also includes contemporary artists such as Brice Marden.”

The column includes details on the works in the sale, as well as on Kathy Fuld’s larger life in the art world, including the fact that she is vice-chair of the board of trustees at New York’s MoMA.

Modern Art Obsession also covers this story, including the full text of the Bloomberg article (also linked above) and some commentary. I’ve covered the economic crisis’s effect on the arts here and here. In light of this news, it’s interesting that Kathy Fuld and her role in the arts community are mentioned in both posts. And in light of Washington Mutual’s failure yesterday, the points in the second post on WaMu’s partnership with the Seattle Art Museum may soon take on increased importance.

In a reminder that the economic pain isn’t limited to the US, the Canadian government has come under fire for cutting funding to the arts. Now comes news that PM Steven Harper has publicly insulted Canada’s arts community, and that his wife is pulling out of an event that helps fund “performances for children across the country” and provide resources to students and teachers interested in the arts. [Link from LA Times’s art blog, which has stolen the name of a popular independent arts blog.]

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~ by David Cupp on September 26, 2008.

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