The Collection of Chara Schreyer is a thoroughly remarkable vision filled with scope and quality. Now, the culmination of decades of bold and passionate collecting and her conviction to transform and elevate life into art, the Collection will be offered at Sotheby’s beginning this November in the Contemporary Evening Auction during the marquee New York Sales, with further sales to continue through 2024.
Chara, a lifelong tastemaker in the art world, solidified her position as one of the most influential collectors and patrons of post-war and contemporary art in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her Collection is not easily pigeonholed; it defies categorisation. It is a repository of seminal works by artists who thrived in the post-war era, shaping the dominant art movements of their time, from Conceptualism to Minimalism and beyond.
Now, after decades of audacious and passionate collecting and her unwavering commitment to transcending and elevating life through art, The Collection of Chara Schreyer will take centre stage at Sotheby’s this November during the Contemporary Evening Auction, part of the prestigious New York Sales. Subsequent sales will follow through 2024.
Commencing with Marcel Duchamp, who serves as the conceptual linchpin from which the entire Collection emanates, Chara Schreyer’s treasure trove encompasses hundreds of artworks celebrating interconnectedness, adaptability, freedom, and her insatiable intellectual curiosity. From the Minimalist masterpieces of Frank Stella and Donald Judd to the extraordinary Conceptual sculptures crafted by Eva Hesse, Robert Gober, and Joseph Beuys, this Collection is a testament to the new art forms pioneered during the dynamic days of post-war Conceptualism. It traces an ever-expanding cosmos of artistic expressions that uniquely resonate with Chara. She famously referred to these works as “making strange,” a homage to art’s incredible capacity to alter perceptions, transforming the unfamiliar into the familiar. The core of this Collection also features artists such as Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Mark Bradford, and Christopher Wool. Conversely, female artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, and Lee Bontecou, among others, reflect Chara’s unwavering commitment to championing and collecting women artists.
As Chara cultivated her distinctive and definitive collector’s taste, she embarked on the ambitious endeavour of redesigning and expanding her living spaces to create an environment that would harmonise with her art. She meticulously transformed each residence into a gallery-like space, thoughtfully curated to mirror its unique surroundings, from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area. Spanning a wide array of unconventional art styles and materials, including neon, video art, large-scale sculptures, and process art, her homes intentionally blurred the lines between art and environment.
The iconic book “ART HOUSE: The Collaboration of Chara Schreyer & Gary Hutton” (Assouline, 2016) immortalises the enduring creative partnership between Chara Schreyer and designer Gary Hutton. It is a definitive work for contemporary art collectors, encapsulating Chara’s unwavering vision as a collector and her philosophy of collecting art to experience it personally. The Collection receives further acclaim in “Making Strange” (DelMonico Books, 2021), a publication featuring a collection of insightful essays that delve into nearly 250 works from the Collection.