$100 million in art, including major works by Van Gogh and Monet, hit the auction block in London this week, according to a new Bloomberg report. The art was reportedly being sold by two Princeton University benefactors and alumni from Boston.
In total, more than 20 works are being offered at Christie's by Neil and Monte Wallace, brothers who are now both in their 80s. The brothers founded real estate and investment company General Investment & Development Cos. (GID) about 60 years ago. Now, the firm develops and operates more than $15 billion in real estate assets.
Some of the rare works being offered as part of the “Hidden Treasures: Impressionist & Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection” sale, have not made public appearances in over three decades, but for the occasional museum appearance. The collection was called "intensely private" and the "most important single owner group of Impressionist and modern art offered in London in a decade" when it was unveiled in Hong Kong.
One of the collections most coveted works, Monet's “Saule pleureur et bassin de nymphéas,” failed to sell after it was estimated that it would fetch about 40 million pounds. Additionally, Van Gogh’s “Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche,” from the artist's trip to Antwerp in 1885, estimated to sell for 8 million to 12 million pounds, also failed to sell.
Cezanne’s still life with peaches and pears was sold for 21.2 million pounds, including fees, however.
Much of the art was acquired by the Wallaces between the mid 1980's and the early 1990's from galleries like Wildenstein and Acquavella. The Monet, among others, was loaned anonymously to exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where the brothers are members.
The brothers donated a collective $25 million to Princeton University between 2008 and 2012, helping put in a dance building and theater, as well as a social sciences building.