Art & Artists

Ron Perelman Sells 71 Works Worth $963 Million: Picasso, Warhol, Basquiat, and Others to Repay Banks

May 24, 2024 at 13:03
DALL·E 2024-05-24 15.03.00 - A high-end art auction scene with a diverse audience of wealthy collectors and art enthusiasts. The auctioneer is on stage, presenting a notable paint.webp
Business magnate Ronald O. Perelman, a fixture on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list, recently made headlines for selling 71 artworks by renowned artists like Picasso and Warhol.

Ronald O. Perelman, a prominent businessman known for his appearances on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list and his patronage of Gagosian, recently made headlines by selling 71 artworks by renowned artists for a staggering $963 million. This significant sale, which took place between 2020 and 2022, was revealed through court documents that were recently unsealed.

Among the impressive array of artworks sold were pieces by notable artists such as Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Jasper Johns, Egon Schiele, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anish Kapoor, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, and Jackson Pollock.

The decision to sell off these artworks came as Perelman faced financial pressure stemming from the decline in the value of shares in Revlon Inc., a company his holding firm acquired for $1.74 billion in 1985. The global economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant drop in stock market values, prompting Perelman to leverage his art collection as collateral for loans.

While previous reports had hinted at Perelman's divestment of a substantial portion of his extensive art collection, the recent court filings provided the first comprehensive account of all the works sold. Deutsche Bank, which had issued a margin call demanding additional capital in Perelman's brokerage account, played a central role in prompting the sale of the 71 artworks and other assets. Additionally, the financial institution had provided loans against Perelman's art holdings.

Interestingly, at least two of the artworks from Perelman's collection found a new home with another prominent art collector, Ken Griffin. Griffin, the founder of Citadel and a longstanding trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, acquired Brice Marden's "Letter About Rocks #2" and "River 4" for $30 million and $9.5 million respectively after visiting Perelman's residence in the Hamptons in 2020.