See the Top Stories in Art and Real Estate in 2016
A look at some truly artful deals.
It’s no secret that there is an increasing degree of overlap in the realms of high-end art and luxury real estate—especially in New York.
“There’s a very real and exciting shift taking place,” said Ali Ebrahimi, a luxury real estate broker with Douglas Elliman, who, with his team, has sold over $1.5 billion in real estate. As the founder of artREAL, an art and real estate company, Ebrahimi sees the shift happening first-hand. “Developers and some savvy brokers are finally acknowledging the move toward art-centric real estate,” he told artnet News.
Ebrahimi recently partnered with Helen Toomer of PULSE Contemporary Art Fair in New York to host an intimate art event in a Greenwich Village penthouse, which was on the market for $27 million. He said, “the developer loved the idea and donated the space for the event, knowing the value of having high-profile members of the art world and media in attendance at the property. And of course, the event benefited from using the property free of charge.”
But it’s not just happening in New York, of course. There were also a fair amount of notable transactions—from San Francisco to Tuscany—that artnet News reported on this year. Here are some of the most exciting art in real estate stories so far.
1. A $10 Million French Chateau Comes With Protected Picasso Murals
Pablo Picasso lusted after this 13th-century chateau in Provence, and tried, unsuccessfully, to purchase it from British art historian and collector Douglas Cooper—who refused to sell it to him. Cooper was friendly with a number of notable artists including Paul Klee, Nicolas de Staël, Picasso, Georges Braque, and others, who would frequent the residence.
When Picasso visited the estate he proclaimed: “Give me a wall!” Which Cooper eventually did. The five sculpted murals he created are now listed on the official register of protected monuments in France.
2. You Can Buy Art Star David Salle’s Fabulous Fort Greene Pad—for $13 Million
The contemporary art star, who released a book this year titled How to See: Looking, Talking and Thinking About Art, put his fabulous Brooklyn pad on the market with an asking price of $13 million.
Salle’s sprawling Fort Greene residence—comprised of a three-story red brick and terra-cotta schoolhouse and a four-story townhouse with a modern facade—also had a past life as a Masonic Lodge.
3. Aby Rosen Courts Art Collectors With New Luxury Tower
New York real estate tycoon and renowned art collector Aby Rosen’s 63-story luxury tower, designed by Foster + Partners, is currently under construction at 100 East 53rd Street, immediately adjacent to the Seagam building. Each of the 94 planned units is designed for residents with an appreciation of art, architecture and culture, which is hardly surprising given Rosen’s penchant for cutting-edge contemporary art.
Hanging on the walls of the sales gallery are eye-catching works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Cy Twombly. The development will also feature a site-specific work by Rachel Feinstein, whose giant mural painted on mirror will grace a marble wall of the front entrance. Rosen said, “The idea is to bring in New York artists who understand the energy we want to create here.”
4. ICI Founder Susan Sollins’s $5.3 Million Artful Madison Square Apartment
The late Susan Sollins, founder of Independent Curators International and the acclaimed PBS series “Art 21,” was a tireless promoter of contemporary art. Over 100 artists have been profiled by the show to date, including art stars such as Ai Weiwei, Maya Lin, Sally Mann, Laurie Anderson, Richard Serra, Susan Rothenberg, and Fred Wilson.
In the spring, a piece of her history—a sleek apartment in Manhattan’s fast-growing Madison Square Park neighborhood—hit the market for a cool $5.3 million asking price.
5. Frank Stella’s Former East Village Studio Sells for Whopping $22 Million
This past January, real estate company Milan Associates purchased Frank Stella‘s former home and studio for $22 million, as reported in the Real Deal. The Beaux-Arts carriage house, at 138 East 13th Street, was built in 1903 by architecture firm Jardine, Kent, and Jardine.
Stella, who was the subject of an ongoing retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art this past year, owned the East Village property between 1978 and 2005.
6. Johnny Depp’s Art-Filled Penthouse Sells for $2.45 Million After One Month On The Market
This past fall, Johnny Depp put his Los Angeles apartment on the market for $12.8 million.
Images of the Hollywood actor’s home revealed his extensive art collection, including a large mural by the Brazilian artist duo OSGEMEOS. However, that particular work, which Depp specifically commissioned for the space, is going with him when he moves, real estate agent Kevin Dees of Partners Trust told artnet News. The artwork is painted on panels, and is approximately 24-feet high, says Dees.
7. You Can Buy Michelangelo’s Tuscan Villa for $8.3 Million
If you’re in the market for pricey real estate with a storied art history Michelangelo‘s Tuscan villa—priced at $8.3 million—could be just the real estate deal for you. La Torre di Michelangelo has 13,000 square feet, eight bedrooms, and seven baths.
The three-structure building complex also includes a large garden with 200 olive trees, and a well that dates back to the Renaissance.
8. Art Dealer Gary Nader Butts Heads With ‘Condo King’ Jorge Perez Over Bid for New Miami Museum
When Miami art dealer Gary Nader brought a pitch to Miami Dade College for a multi-million-dollar campus development, including a 90,000-square-foot museum of Latin American art with $60 million worth of work from his own collection, he presumably thought it was a done deal. The proposal reportedly didn’t even require the school to put up any money; it would take ownership of the culture center in exchange for giving over a parking lot. But when college officials—citing their status as a public institution—opened up the potential development to other proposals, and then gave top ranking to a rival bid from real estate firm Related, run by Miami “condo king” Jorge Perez of the Perez Art Museum Miami, Nader struck back.
What followed was a contentious, bizarre, and highly personal fight, including allegations of a conflict of interest and the use of private investigators to tail an attorney and a faculty member. Plans for the center were ultimately dropped this past October.
9. You Can Own the San Francisco Home of Imprisoned Art Swindler Luke Brugnara for $19.7 Million
Earlier this month, the former San Francisco home of imprisoned art fraudster Luke Brugnara hit the market with an asking price of $19.7 million, according to Curbed San Francisco.
Brugnara’s dramatic trial included an escape from custody and a hilarious exchange with the judge that ensued when the former real estate mogul appeared in court without shoes. The report calls the property, in the exclusive Sea Cliff neighborhood, “a spectacular mansion that was once used to store millions in stolen art.”
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