Sonnabend private estate sale largest on record

April 7th, 2008

Jeff Koon’s “Rabbit” 1/3 (1986) via

Famed art dealer Ileana Sonnabend’s art collection was sold in two private transactions by her children this past week. Valued at nearly $1 billion, Sonnabend’s collection included works by artists such as Rauschenberg, Warhol, Koons, Johns, Lichtenstein and Twombly.

A Colossal Private Sale by the Heirs of a Dealer[The New York Times]
Sonnabend’s Children Part with $600 Million Worth of Art to Pay Off Estate Taxes[Art Forum]
Sonnabend’s Children Sell Most of $900 Million Collection[Bloomberg News]
Sonnabend Works Sold in Private Auction [Art Info]

The world’s leading art dealers competed for prize pieces from Sonnabend’s estate. Experts close to the transaction conjecture that the spoils were split amongst dealers Franck Giraud, Lionel Pissarro, Philippe Segalot and Larry Gagosian, with the latter receiving the largest share by far.
Affectionately referred to as the “Mom of Pop Art” Sonnabend’s legacy includes introducing American artists to the world through her self-titled galleries in Paris and then in New York
Cy Twombly’s “Blue Room”

Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 cartoon painting “Eddie Diptych” via Artnet