Embattled Talk-Show Host Ellen DeGeneres Is Selling Off a Basquiat, a Multimillion-Dollar Flock of Sculptural Sheep, and Other Pricey Art

Some buyers have already corralled some of DeGeneres's Francois-Xavier Lalanne sheep.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Embroiled in controversy over allegations of a toxic environment on her daytime talk show, Ellen DeGeneres might be counting sheep at night to get some shut eye. Then again, maybe not. 

According to a new report by Bloomberg, citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” the host is “quietly” selling off a flock of sheep sculptures by French designer Francois-Xavier Lalanne. Priced between $500,000 to $1 million each, the sculptures are among a handful of notable works in her collection to pop up at Sotheby’s gallery in East Hampton recently. Some, according to Bloomberg’s source, are already sold. 

Other pieces on sale from DeGeneres include an Alexander Calder mobile and a Jean-Michel Basquiat work on paper. She’s also hawking a Basquiat painting through Van de Weghe Fine Art in New York.

Sotheby’s did not immediately return Artnet News’s request for comment.

People look at a herd of sheep by François-Xavier Lalanne at the Hotel d'Assezat museum in Toulouse on June 25, 2020. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images.

People look at a herd of sheep by François-Xavier Lalanne at the Hotel d’Assezat museum in Toulouse on June 25, 2020. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images.

This July, former “Ellen DeGeneres Show” employees went public with claims that they experienced “racism, fear and intimidation” at the show. An investigation from an outside party was launched, resulting in the dismissal of three producers from the program.

As Ellen returned to TV Monday for her 18th season, she opened acknowledging the controversy that took place over the summer. 

“I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” she said. “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

DeGeneres and her partner, actor Portia de Rossi, have amassed a multimillion dollar collection over the course of their 16-year relationship. On display in their Beverly Hills home are paintings by Mark Grotjahn, Basquiat, and Andy Warhol—including a collaborative piece by the latter two. They are also known to have a sculpture by Diego Giacometti; a steel-and-glass Ping-Pong table by Rirkrit Tiravanija; and a Jeff Koons puppy vase (which is where the Ping-Pong balls live).

In 2018, de Rossi launched General Public, an art production company that employs a special, Fujifilm-designed process to develop “textured” print facsimiles of original works of three-dimensional art. “Support artists, not art” is the motto of the company, which pays artists only five percent of print royalties.


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