Billionaire couple sells off $676M of art in divorce settlement

The art collection that Jordan Schnitzer inherited from his father, Randall, known for its German expressionist and minimalist works has been sold in Los Angeles Billionaire couple sells off $676M of art in divorce…

Billionaire couple sells off $676M of art in divorce settlement

The art collection that Jordan Schnitzer inherited from his father, Randall, known for its German expressionist and minimalist works has been sold in Los Angeles

Billionaire couple sells off $676M of art in divorce settlement

Exclusive: German billionaire Jordan Schnitzer is selling off much of his $676m art collection in a court settlement with his estranged wife, Alexandra, the Art Dealers Association of America has told the Guardian.

After the Schnitzers announced their split in January, Schnitzer quietly started selling off artwork from his flagship collection of paintings, sculptures and glass and ceramics.

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According to the ADAA, the collection has been sold for over $700m since then, with Schnitzer acknowledging that the sales have put him in a new financial position “indicating he will not be paying legal fees or other expenses for any of his wife’s claims against him”.

Schnitzer, the son of a Norwegian oil magnate, bought one of the world’s most extensive private art collections in the early 2000s and launched the Schnitzer Museum of Art in Seattle, which is in the process of opening.

He was married to Alexandra for more than a decade, but they separated in 2016, and she filed for divorce. She had wanted Schnitzer to give her full custody of the collection.

For his part, Schnitzer has said he wants his ex-wife to receive a lump sum.

A majority of the 80 paintings and ceramics have been sold, and about 15 pieces remain in an Arizona and Florida warehouse awaiting auction. Schnitzer had also offered 12 of the works for sale on the auction site, but they were withdrawn after deals were reached with the other collectors.

Schnitzer bought art for his collection at auction, and also held auctions of artwork pieces that had been bought by other dealers on his behalf.

According to Schnitzer’s publicist, Grant Monninger, the Schnitzer Collection is now heading to “an undisclosed location in the US” where it will be “presented to interested investors”.

A handful of the artists in the collection were founded by Schnitzer. They include Hubert Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Klee, Mondrian, Braque, Hunt, Bonnard, and Korchinski. There are at least 150 works by 20 other artists, according to estimates by Osman Gülduğlu, a critic and writer who was involved in the negotiations to sell the collection.

“When we talked to him about getting rid of the art collection, he didn’t have a problem with selling. He’s also very interested in philanthropy,” Gülduğlu said.

“There were interested parties willing to invest a significant amount of money in the artists, and also in the aesthetic value of the collection. So we were able to achieve that, which was the reason for [Schnitzer] selling the works.”

An auction could raise as much as $50m, Gülduğlu said.

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