Auction  October 25, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Melva Bucksbaum's Diverse Collection Shines at Auction

Courtesy Christie's

Michal Rovner (b. 1957), Shayara, two elements: metal-framed LCD screens, computer and digital files. Price Realized: $100,000.

Christie’s online auction of The Collection of Melva Bucksbaum: Post-War and Contemporary Art, Photographs and Prints offered highlights from the visionary art parton's eclectic collection, ranging from established artists like Man Ray, Cindy Sherman and Agnes Martin, to young and emerging artists. The sale achieved $1,760,500, the top sale going to Shayara, by Michal Rovner, which sold for $100,000, twenty times its lowest estimated value. Bucksbaum, a legendary figure in the contemporary art world, had amassed a huge collection of art when she died in 2015, at the age of 82. 

Courtesy Christie's

Eric Fischl (b. 1948), Untitledwatercolor on paper. Price Realized: $32,500

A collector, curator, and patron of the arts, Bucksbaum was known for collecting art that pushed against the status quo, supporting both established and emerging artist. Interested in art from a young age, Bucksman used to take a bus for a nickel to visit the museums in downtown Washington, D.C., in the 1940’s. She moved to Des Moines, Iowa, with her first husband, in 1967. Actively involved in the local art world, she became friends with the visionary curator of the Des Moines Art Center, James T. Demetrion, who mentored her growth as a collector.

Courtesy Christie's

Enrico David (b. 1966), Untitled, wool on canvas. Price Realized: $37,500

In 1995, Bucksbaum became closely involved with the Whitney Museum, eventually becoming vice chairwoman of their board. Combining a passion for art with public altruism, she established one of the most generous prizes in fine art, the $100,000 Bucksbaum award, in 1996. Given every two years in conjunction with the Whitney Biennial, the award has come to define the institution’s programming. Bucksbaum was also instrumental in selecting architect Renzo Piano for the Whitney’s new downtown building. Bucksbaum continued collecting into her final years, creating an enduring legacy through her collection and prize.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.

Subscribe to our free e-letter!

Webform

Latest News

12 African American Artists You Should Know More About
African American artists have contributed to this nation’s cultural landscape…
Steve Porter Explores Signatures as Portraits with Signed99 Project
British artist Steve Porter has an intriguing portrait project: Signed99…
Cubist Portrait of Picasso’s Daughter Could Fetch Over $15 Million
Though Pablo Picasso engaged in many messy and turbulent romantic relationships…
Exploring the History of Socialist Realism
As empires fell and made way for nation-states, dissolving Medieval social…
2003 Unbearable: Y2K Fashion is More Problematic than You Remember
Instagram, shop windows, and street style all shout that the 2000s are back:…