Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Crying Lot 49

The Fulds are selling part of their art collection tonight. Dick Fuld was CEO of Lehman Brothers until its bankruptcy in September. His wife Kathy is on the board of directors at MOMA and an avid collector of modern and contemporary art.

The Guardian reports that tonight's auction of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's will offer a number of works from the Fulds' collection, including three de Kooning drawings.

This de Kooning Woman (1951) is lot 49. The owner is not identified on Christie's Web site, but this "special notice":

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.

is consistent with an NPR report that the Fulds negotiated a guaranteed $20 million from the auction house for the sale. Even if the artworks do not sell, Dick 'n' Kathy get almost enough money to buy another $21 million Manhattan apartment to go with the one they already own.

Bonus points if you've read Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49. The confluence of Pynchon's paranoid rantings and the current economic situation -- a situation for which Dick Fuld is more than a little responsible -- would be delicious in another Pynchon novel.

If only we were all fictional characters and our money were fictional, too...

(Update: I was in error to label Dick Fuld a former CEO. Bloomberg indicates he is still CEO, albeit chief of a bankrupt company.)

No comments: