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Wife of Lehman chief to sell pricey art, dealers say

September 27, 2008|From Bloomberg News

Kathy Fuld, the art-collecting wife of Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Richard Fuld, is selling a $20-million set of rare Abstract Expressionist drawings at a November auction, according to two art dealers.

Christie's International, which is offering the works in New York on Nov. 12, declined to reveal the seller's identity. The auction house announced the sale of the drawings, including three by Willem de Kooning, four days after Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history Sept. 15. Two New York-based dealers who specialize in similar works said Fuld was the seller. They declined to be named.

"These kinds of drawings are extremely rare," said Amy Cappellazzo, co-head of Christie's postwar and contemporary art department. "The collector considers drawing as a primary art form."

Richard Fuld earned $34.4 million in 2007 running the fourth-largest investment bank on Wall Street -- pay that lawyers said may be the target of creditor lawsuits. He sold Lehman shares that a year and a half ago were worth $247 million for less than $500,000 last week, after the stock price collapsed.

The Christie's auction includes the De Koonings, five Barnett Newmans, four Arshile Gorkys and four Agnes Martins. De Kooning's kinetic, orange-haired 1951 "Woman" in graphite, charcoal, pastel and oil on paper is expected to fetch as much as $4 million.

The collection was assembled over a number of years, according to Cappellazzo, who said the seller approached Christie's and rival Sotheby's about an auction in the summer. Christie's completed the deal in August, she said.

Fuld is vice chairman of the board of trustees at New York's Museum of Modern Art and has promised a number of artworks to the museum, including works by Jasper Johns and Louise Bourgeois. Phone calls and e-mails to the press offices of Lehman and MoMA were unanswered.

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