Art Market

Donald Marron’s $450-million art collection will be sold by Acquavella, Gagosian, and Pace galleries.

Justin Kamp
Feb 21, 2020 2:49PM, via Wall Street Journal

From left to right: Arne Glimcher, Bill Acquavella, Larry Gagosian, and Marc Glimcher. Photo © Axel Dupeux.

Donald B. Marron’s collection of modern and contemporary masterworks will be sold by Acquavella, Gagosian, and Pace galleries as part of an exhibition opening this spring. The $450-million estate was highly coveted by galleries and auction houses, and the collaboration between the longtime rival dealers could be a turning point in the competition over high-value collections.

Larry Gagosian told the Wall Street Journal:

All dealers are rivals, but I think Don would be pleased to see us working together for once. [...] Maybe we can level the field a little bit.

Collector and financier Donald Marron attends the 2013 Party In The Garden at the Museum of Modern Art. Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images.

Marron was a fixture of the New York art world for decades, and was a supporter and board member of theMuseum of Modern Art. After his death in December, his vast collection became the subject of an intense competition between auction houses and galleries. Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips had each guaranteed the collector’s widow, Catie Marron, at least $300 million for the estate, according to the Journal, but it was ultimately the late collector’s personal history with the gallerists behind the three-way collaboration that helped decide the consignment.

Eleanor Aqcuavella explained the decision to The Art Newspaper:

All galleries partnering on this sale have had long-standing personal and professional relationships with the Marron family. The family decided this was the best course to take based on our mutual respect and our deep understanding of the collection.

Mark Rothko, Number 22 (reds), 1957. © 2020 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / ARS, New York. Courtesy the Donald B. Marron Family Collection, Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian, and Pace Gallery.

The decision may have also been partly rooted in changing attitudes toward public auctions. Private gallery sales allow for quicker, more discreet sales that are not subject to the potential volatility of selling at auction.

The galleries will organize the collection into a three-pronged exhibition covering three distinct eras of Marron’s collecting that will open in the spring, with many of the pieces available for sale in the interim. The exhibition will coincide with the TEFAF New York Spring and Frieze New York fairs, as well as the spring auction season, and will be documented in an accompanying book from Phaidon.

Pablo Picasso, Femme au beret et la collerette (Woman with Beret and Collar), 1937. © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy the Donald B. Marron Family Collection, Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian, and Pace Gallery.

Justin Kamp