Sotheby’s has announced that it will represent the estate of Emily Fisher Landau. This is one of the finest single-owner collections of our time. It is estimated to be worth over $400m.
Before her death in March, Landau pledged over 400 artworks valued at almost $75m to the Whitney Museum. The collection at Sotheby’s will be led by Femme à la montre (see top photo) (1932), Pablo Picasso’s portrait of his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, painted just after his affair with the young woman became public. According to Sotheby’s specialists, Landau purchased the painting in 1968, and it hung above the mantel in her New York home for years. Femme à la montre is estimated to sell more than $120m.
Untitled (1958) Mark Rothko Courtesy Sotheby’s
The sale will also mark the auction debut for Mark Rothko’s untitled 1968 works related to the Seagram Murals series, among his most famous ones. The painting up for sale is stylistically similar to the Seagram paintings and was completed in the same year, according to Sotheby’s specialists. The dark Seagram Murals paintings were initially commissioned for the restaurant inside the Four Seasons in New York’s Seagram Building. Still, Rothko backed out before telling a reporter he took the job with “malicious intent” and hoped to disgust the high-end restaurant’s patrons. Most works from the series are part of museum collections like those of the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Japan, Tate Modern in London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
A 1986 edition of Jasper Johns’s Flags paintings is expected to sell for between $35m and $45m, and a 1986 camouflage self-portrait by Andy.
Warhol has a $15m-to-$20m estimate. Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XV (1983) is estimated to sell for between $6m and $8m, while Pink Tulip (1925) by Georgia O’Keeffe could fetch between $3m and $5m. Mark Tansey’s Triumph Over Mastery II (1987) has an $8m-to-$12m estimate.
Flags (1986) by Jasper Johns Courtesy Sotheby’s
Landau established the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City, Queens, and purchased a former parachute harness factory in the late 1980s to exhibit the collection. It closed in 2017.
Emily Fisher Landau (1927-2019) was a prominent philanthropist and collector known for her dedication to contemporary art. Her vast art collection spanned several decades and included works by some of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her collection was characterised by its focus on modern and contemporary art and its commitment to supporting artists throughout their careers. Here are some critical aspects of Emily Fisher Landau’s art collection:
Collecting Philosophy: Emily Fisher Landau sincerely appreciated contemporary art and believed in supporting living artists. Her collecting philosophy was guided by a commitment to promoting and preserving contemporary art as an essential part of cultural heritage.
Range of Artists: Landau’s collection featured artists from various backgrounds and artistic movements. It included works by American artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning, as well as international figures like Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer.
Commitment to Emerging Artists: While she collected works by established artists, Landau was also dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging talents. She sought out young artists and provided them with opportunities for recognition and advancement in the art world.
Donations and Philanthropy: Throughout her life, Emily Fisher Landau donated significant artworks to museums and institutions, helping enrich public collections and ensure that contemporary art would be accessible to the broader public. Her philanthropic efforts extended beyond art, including support for healthcare, education, and social services.
Recognition and Legacy: Landau’s contributions to the art world were widely recognised, and she received various honours and awards for her philanthropic work. Her collection was known for its quality and historical significance, making her an influential figure in contemporary art collecting.
The Fisher Landau Center for Art: To share her collection with the public, Emily Fisher Landau established the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City, New York. The centre opened in 2002 and provides a space for exhibitions, educational programs, and scholarly research related to contemporary art. It houses a substantial portion of her collection.
Emily Fisher Landau’s dedication to contemporary art and her commitment to supporting artists and institutions have left a lasting legacy in the art world. Her collection, along with the institutions she supported, continues to play a vital role in preserving and promoting contemporary art for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
Top Photo: Femme à la montre (1932) by Pablo Picasso Courtesy Sotheby’s