By Mark Stryker
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Going, going, gone.
If you want at least one final look at the eight paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts that are owned by the late billionaire businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, then you’d better hurry.
A family spokesman confirmed Friday that all of Taubman’s paintings on long-term loan to the museum will soon be shipped to New York as part of Sotheby’s blockbuster series of auctions that promise to fetch $500 million or more for Taubman’s 500-plus piece art collection. DIA officials don’t know exactly when the works will be removed from the walls, but all are due at Sotheby’s by late October for a pre-auction exhibition.
The paintings that will be leaving the DIA are nearly all 17th-Century works, are mostly Italian and all are fine quality. However, none is by a household name and none is the sort of masterpiece that will fetch auction prices anywhere near the most valued pieces in Taubman’s collection. The collection includes works by Picasso, de Kooning, Modigliani and Rothko that Sotheby’s estimates are worth $20 million to $35 million each.
In addition to specifics surrounding Taubman’s paintings at the DIA, more details are coming to light about the will of the innovative shopping mall developer, who died in April at age 91 with a net worth estimated at more than $3 billion. Family spokesman Christopher Tennyson said that Taubman did not leave the DIA any final bequest of art or a large legacy gift of cash for the museum’s endowment.
However, Tennyson emphasized that the museum would continue to benefit from Taubman’s philanthropy through his charitable foundation. Proceeds from the Sotheby’s auctions will be used to pay estate taxes and bolster the foundation with what Tennyson said promises to be “hundreds of millions” of dollars… Read more here.