American billionaire Ronald O. Perelman is selling a large portion of his sprawling 1,000-item art collection, which has at various points included significant modern and contemporary artworks by Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, Jeff Koons, and many more. The works consigned to Sotheby’s are reportedly worth a collected several hundred million dollars. Bloomberg, which first reported the news, said that Perelman’s holdings will be sold in a combination of private and public sales.
Perelman, who has regularly appeared on ARTnews’s Top 200 Collectors list, has authorized the mass consignment to Sotheby’s, following the sale of two high-profile paintings from his collection by Miró and Matisse in June at the house’s “Rembrandt to Richter” sale. Those paintings underperformed, fetching a combined $37.3 million—about $53 million below their high estimate. Perelman was also the seller of Francis Bacon’s painting Portrait of John Edward (1986), which had been slated to hit the block at that same sale but was withdrawn before the auction began.
The news comes as the billionaire moves to restructure his finances following the onslaught of the economic lag caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which representatives for Perelman’s holding company, MacAndrews & Forbes, confirmed in July. The Revlon owner is selling his stake in automotive company Humvee-maker AM General, along with one held in a flavoring company that was acquired in the early 2000s.
According to Bloomberg, the majority of the modern and contemporary works consigned are to be offered via private sale, but others may be put up for auction. A portion of the proceeds will be used to repay Perelman’s loan with Citigroup Inc.
The 77-year-old financier accrued his wealth through varied channels in the cosmetics, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical industries. Perelman—who has a net worth estimated at $17.4 billion— is known as an active trader of investment art pieces. Through a roster of high-profile dealings with prominent gallerists such as Larry Gagosian, Perelman has amassed one of the world’s top art collections. Bloomberg reported that his art holdings are worth about $3 billion.