NEW YORK (Reuters) - The art collection of late U.S. mall developer A. Alfred Taubman, who served prison time in an auction house price-fixing scandal, is being put up for sale in what was described on Friday as the most valuable private collection ever offered at auction.
Sotheby’s said the collection, to be sold in November in New York, is valued at more than $500 million. The 500 works stretch from antiquity to contemporary art and include paintings by Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Amedeo Modigliani.
Taubman, a billionaire who founded the shopping mall business Taubman Centers Inc, died in April at the age of 91.
In 1983, he bought Sotheby’s and became its chairman. He is credited with revolutionizing the way auction houses did business by pioneering such sales as the jewels of the Duchess of Windsor and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate in the 1980s and 1990s.
But in the early 2000s, Taubman was convicted and jailed for 10 months over an international price-fixing conspiracy with competing auction house Christie‘s. He was also fined $7.5 million, and left jail in 2003 still proclaiming his innocence.
Some of the top works in his collection include Modigliani’s “Portrait de Paulette Jourdain,” and Willem de Kooning’s “Untitled XXI,” which have estimated prices of $25 million to $35 million each.
The Taubman collection will be auctioned in a series of sales starting in November. Proceeds will be used to settle estate tax obligations and fund the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation, Sotheby’s said.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chris Reese