Lisa Schiff’s Art Collection Could Soon Hit the Auction Block

The terms of a proposed deal include selling unclaimed works in multiple live and online sales in 2024.

Lisa Schiff during at SFA Advisory in New York City in December 2022. Photo by Udo Salters/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Phillips New York could auction off hundreds of works from art advisor Lisa Schiff’s collection if a state court approves the proposal.

It’s the next step in the liquidation of the dethroned art dealer’s business to settle debts after some of Schiff’s biggest clients sued her, alleging fraud and other improprieties.

The possible deal was announced by Douglas J. Pick, a bankruptcy lawyer and the assignee in the case, in documents filed with the New York Supreme Court on November 29. Criminal investigations by the office of New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg and federal prosecutors are currently pending.

Faced with swiftly mounting legal troubles, Schiff closed her business, Schiff Fine Art, in May. Pick was named the assignee to handle the liquidation of her assets to benefit her creditors.

Since then, Pick has identified 231 art works owned by Schiff and that could not be claimed by anyone else and could be sold off. The art is currently held in a secure storage facility in Massachusetts and insured by the Great American Security Insurance Company.

“Phillips is well-known and well-respected art auctioneer and maintains an office in New York City,” Pick told the court, according to the documents, adding that the auction house was picked “because of its extensive experience and reputation in providing auction services.” A spokesperson for Phillips New York declined to comment or provide further details about the proposed deal.

The terms of the deal include selling the works in multiple live and online auction sales, as outlined by Pick in court documents. Phillips will be paid through buyers’ premiums and reimbursed by Schiff’s company for packing and shipping costs.

Schiff’s estate will be entitled to 5% of each lot’s hammer price. Pick said that Schiff will continue to incur storage charges and insurance premiums until the works can be sold or “disposed of.” It was not immediately clear how any works that go unsold at auction would be liquidated.

A copy of the proposed deal, dated November 22, was filed as an exhibit with the case. It outlines the estimates for each of the works. The total low estimate for the bunch is $1.09 million while the total high estimate is $1.59 million.

Estimates for works range from as low as $100 for a LOL Alternatives poster from Scotter Reeder, a Richard/Chain (2014) risograph by Charlotte Prodger, and Disney Letter (2014) by Aleksandra Domanovi, to a high estimate of $80,000 for Katherine Bradford’s Handshake.

Only 21 lots have low estimates of above $10,000, despite works from big names like Damien Hirst, who has four works expected to be auctioned. Other big names include Nan Goldin and Anicka Yi.

The lots would hit the block next year at various Phillips sales: the 20th Century & Contemporary Art online auction in early March, the Design live auction in June, the Design online auction in late February, the Editions & Works on Paper live auction scheduled for April, the New Now live auction in March and the TCA: Online Auctions scheduled for September and December.

Beyond the 231 art works identified, more could be included in any of the sales, if the court(s) in related cases tied to Schiff determine that those items are not the interest of any other party.

Meanwhile, Pick filed another motion with the court seeking its permission to authorize the sale of five Max Jansons paintings: Malibu Painting #4, The Sea’s Edge, Butterfly, Renaissance Smile and Gunslinger.

The paintings had previously been expected to be sold to Nancy Chaikin for the sum of $10,000, but Pick also stipulated that the sale could go to “any other person or entity making a higher or better offer.” Ultimately, Triston Mannion made the highest and best offer in the amount of $20,000.

 

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