Minor's art: Collection might raise $30 million-- but not all for him
Paintings and highly-stylized furnishings owned by embattled internet millionaire and downtown Charlottesville hotel-maker Halsey Minor will hit the auction block next week. It's a court-ordered sale of his property to satisfy a multi-million judgment against him in a collections lawsuit by a division of Merrill Lynch.
Trish Walsh, the marketing manager for New York art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, says the Halsey Minor collection is expected to bring $20.3 to $29.7 million via three separate auctions, with the priciest piece being Hollywood Nurse #4, a 2004 painting by Richard Prince carrying a pre-auction estimate of $5-7 million.
Minor concedes that Merrill–- whom he casts as an evil-doer for allegedly panicking and putting a hold on his accounts during the fall 2008 financial meltdown–- gets to keep the first $21.6 million.
"The extra proceeds," notes Minor, "go to me."
Although Minor may not be allowed to put his hands on all the money garnered from the sale of his collection, it was he who successfully pressed the court to let Phillips de Pury handle the auction. And 'twas he who possesses such a love of contemporary art and design that the auction catalog claims he has an "addiction to this nectar, to put together one of the most formidable collections of Marc Newson and Ed Ruscha."
Newsom will be represented with three pieces including a fluid, futuristic chaise called "Lockheed Lounge," which Minor purchased just a year ago for a design record-setting price of $1.6 million. There are also three Ruschas in the collection, including Angry Because It’s Plaster Not Milk, a 1965 painting that may fetch as much as $3 million.
The May 13 sale is an evening event focusing solely on the most expensive items in Minor's collection while other works will appear the following day in a larger, multi-collector auction, with the final works going up for sale June 9, according to Walsh.