Sep 5, 2018

Christie’s will auction Barney A. Ebsworth’s American art collection for an expected $300 million.

The collection of tourism industry mogul Barney A. Ebsworth, who died in April, will hit the auction block at Christie’s in single-owner day and evening sale in November. The auction house expects the 85 works coming to auction to bring in upward of $300 million. But first, a selection of the collection’s big ticket works will tour Christie’s showrooms, starting this week in Paris. The consignment of works from Ebsworth’s estate represents a major windfall for Christie’s, which is seeking to replicate its blockbuster results in the fall of 2017 (thanks in no small part to Salvator Mundi) and spring of this year (buoyed by the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection).
“Last season, Christie’s made the bold move of launching the $835 million Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller in Asia, underscoring our investment and deep commitment to collectors in this growing region,” Christie’s Americas Chairman Marc Porter said in a statement. “This season, Christie’s Paris will host the debut of this stunning collection for the global collecting community, positioning it in the heart of Europe and paying homage to Barney A. Ebsworth’s lifelong love affair with the city that first introduced him to great art.”
The estate’s top lot is expected to be Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey (1929), which has a pre-sale estimate of around $70 million, while Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape (1954–55) and Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes (1950) are expected to sell in the region of $60 million and $50 million, respectively. The rest of the works from the estate are a who’s-who of post-war American art, including a Joan Mitchell painting estimated to bring in $14 million to $16 million; a Jasper Johns valued at between $20 million and $30 million; a Franz Kline estimated at $5 million to $7 million; two pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, who was a close friend of Ebsworth’s; and works by Stuart Davis, Charles Sheeler, Marsden Hartley, among others.