"Study for Agony I" is one of four Arshile Gorkys, three William de Koonings, five Barnett Newmans and four Agnes Martins that Kathy Fuld, wife of Lehman chief executive Dick Fuld, has hired Christie’s to auction off, according to reports by Bloomberg news and The New York Times.
While the timing would seem to indicate that the auction was an effort to counteract the hit the Fuld family’s fortunes have taken on Wall Street — Bloomberg reports that Mr. Fuld "sold Lehman shares that were worth $247 million a year and a half ago for less than $500,000 last week after the stock price collapsed" — Ms. Fuld insisted to The Times that the timing was coincidental:
“I’ve been selling things for the past few years, but nobody cared until now,” Mrs. Fuld said reflectively in an interview.
She said that the sale of the drawings had nothing to do with the troubles at Lehman Brothers, which she called “profoundly sad,” and that she had begun talking with Christie’s and Sotheby’s about the consignment over the summer. Sixteen works by artists including Barnett Newman, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and Agnes Martin will go on the block at a total estimate of $15 million to $20 million.
Ms. Fuld, according to Bloomberg, is "well known in the art world for her passion for works on paper."