Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Scull Collection

The breaking up of the Scull collection was one of the signal art-market events of the past half century. When the glamorous couple — Robert the "taxi tycoon," and Ethel the Vogue-gracing socialite — divorced, they decided to part with 50 pieces from their collection in a 1973 single-owner evening sale at Sotheby Parke Bernet, ushering in the contemporary art market as we know it today. Remarkably, the entire sale back then — before the advent of the buyer's premium — realized a then-mighty $2,242,900, just above its $2.1 million high estimate. In a legendary confrontation that took place after the sale, Robert Rauchenberg, whom the Sculls' collected in depth, confronted the magnate-turned-collector, shouting, “I’ve been working my ass off for you to make a profit!”

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