Christie’s to Sell Bronfman Art Trove Estimated at $34 Million

Mar 28, 2014 12:00 am ET

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- The late billionaire philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman Sr.’s art collection, including paintings by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse, will be sold at auction by Christie’s.

Estimated to bring in more than $34 million, the works will be offered starting with the auction house’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale in New York on May 6, Christie’s said yesterday in a statement. The rest of the 230-item trove, which also includes decorative arts, jewelry and antiquities, will be sold this year in London and Hong Kong as well as New York.

The Canadian-born Bronfman, who led Seagram Co. for 23 years before retiring and was a long-serving president of the World Jewish Congress, died on Dec. 21 at 84. The second- generation heir expanded the company’s empire with profitable oil and gas and chemical investments.

Most of the works being sold by Bronfman’s estate used to be displayed in his Fifth Avenue penthouse in New York, Christie’s said. The co-op apartment, with a wrap-around terrace, is on the market with an asking price of $65 million.

Picasso’s 1965 painting “Mangeuse de Pasteque et Homme Ecrivant,” depicting a nude woman biting into a watermelon slice next to a fully dressed man writing, may sell for $7 million to $10 million, Christie’s said.

Matisse’s 1920 seascape of Nice, France, seen through a window, “Femme Aupres de la Fenetre,” is estimated at $3 million to $5 million, according to the auction company. The same range is attached to Austrian painter Egon Schiele’s 1911 watercolor and gouache portrait of a young naked girl. Monet’s 1878 oil painting “L’Escalier,” showing a staircase, may bring $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

The collection also has examples of American art, including Milton Avery’s painting “The Mandolin Player,” estimated at $800,000 to $1.2 million.

--With assistance from Oshrat Carmiel in New York.