The Mugrabi Family’s Storied Art Collection Has Become a Focal Point in Nasty Divorce Proceedings

The family is rumored to own the world's foremost collection of works by Andy Warhol.

Libbie Mugrabi and David Mugrabi in April 2018. Photo by Patrick McMullan, ©Patrick McMullan.

Divorce proceedings are moving ahead for billionaire power couple David and Libbie Mugrabi, and the family’s storied art collection appears to have become a big point of contention.

“There has been an ongoing dispute over the removal of art from both homes, with both sides alleging the other has taken pricey masterpieces without permission from the other,” reports Page Six. The Mugrabis filed for divorce late last month after 13 years of marriage.

The Mugrabi collection was started in the 1980s by David’s father, Jose Mugrabi. David’s brother, Alberto “Tico” Mugrabi, who married fashion blogger Colby Jordan two years ago, is also a prominent art dealer. Their holdings are known to feature the likes of Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Damien Hirst, George Condo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jeff Koons, as well as the world’s foremost collection of works by Pop art legend Andy Warhol, rumored to be in excess of 1,000 pieces.

“We collect art, and my husband’s a dealer so we live with a lot of art at home,” Libbie told Resident magazine, which described her as an “art consultant,” last October. “I love being part of the art world.” The magazine noted that the couple’s dining room was lined with “Flower” paintings by Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol, <i>Flowers</i> (1965). Estimate: $1.5 million–2 million. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Andy Warhol, Flowers (1965). Estimate: $1.5 million–2 million. Photo courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

David has reportedly been ordered by the court to pay Libbie $25,000 a month in spousal and child support. That figure does not include tuition for the couple’s two children, who attend private school. Libbie is reportedly living in their home in Water Mill, while the couple also owns a recently renovated home on Manhattan’s East 82nd Street. David’s lawyer, Lois Liberman, declined to comment on the case to artnet News, citing a gag order. Libbie’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, David is still engaged in a lawsuit against the New Jersey-based art storage facility Mana Contemporary. The Mugrabis sued Mana in October after the company seized some 1,300 artworks being stored by the family, alleging non-payment. According to David, the family had been promised free storage in exchange for word-of-mouth advertisement about Mana’s services.

In November, the court ruled that the works had to be returned to the Mugrabi family while the case was in progress. There will be a case management conference on June 2, 2019, to determine whether the court will move forward with a trial.

Libbie Mugrabi’s lawyer told Page Six that he and his client were hoping to reach a private settlement with David.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics