The sale at Sotheby’s could fetch some US$70 million, largely benefiting the museum.William S Paley bequeathed 81 paintings and sculptures to his namesake foundation, with the stipulation that they could be made available to MoMA after his death in 1990.
However, he had one condition: that the works should serve to support the evolution of the museum and its missions.
As such, MoMA has decided that some of the works in its care could be used to fund the museum’s digital media and technology initiatives, as well as new acquisitions
Around 30 of these masterpieces will go under the hammer as part of modern and contemporary art sales held by Sotheby’s in October and November in London and New York.
These include a small triptych by Francis Bacon, titled “Three Studies for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes.” This could fetch at least GB£30 million when it goes up for auction on Oct 14 in London.
A Cubist painting by Picasso, “Guitare sur une table,” will go under the hammer on November 14 in New York, along with “Les Fraises,” a still-life work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir dating from 1905. The former should fetch between US$20 and US$30 million, while the latter carries an estimate of US$3 to US$4 million.
Artworks by Miró, Rodin, Bonnard and Derain are all set to go up for auction at Sotheby’s. William C Paley, the late collector’s son and vice-president of the foundation, said that the organisation had worked closely with MoMA’s curators to select the works that would be auctioned.