‘It Spans the Breadth and Depth of Western Art’: Phillips Will Sell Late Film Exec Howard Karshan’s Collection This Fall

The collection includes blue-chip works by Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, and Cy Twombly.

Gerhard Richter Hände (1963). Photo courtesy of Phillips.

Blue-chip art from the collection of late TV and film executive Howard Karshan, who once chaired the Turner Prize committee, will hit the auction block at Phillips this fall. More than 150 works, including highlights from Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, and Georg Baselitz, will appear in the auction house’s 20th century and contemporary art and editions sales in London and New York.

Karshan began collecting art in the 1960s, when his work as a film and television rights negotiator took off. Over the years, he and his wife Linda, an artist, amassed an extraordinary collection of post-war paintings and works on paper. 

Cy Twombly, Sperlonga drawing (1959). Photo courtesy of Phillips.

“Howard and I talked a great deal about legacy,” Linda Karshan told artnet News. “And we felt very strongly that these works should be dispersed. I’m standing at Phillips now and can see the magnificent important Richters and it gives me enormous pleasure to see them here.”

Standout works from the upcoming sales include Richter’s 1963 canvas Hände (est. £2-3 million)—one of the first paintings to show the artist’s exploration of monochromatic blurred figuration—as well as Georg Baselitz’s early drawing Untitled (1967) and Cy Twombly’s immediate and beautifully improvised work Untitled (1969).

Georg Baselitz, Jäger mit Hund (1967). Photo courtesy of Phillips.

Karshan said the collection she built with her husband was based on “quality and integrity” and described how Howard would hunt for certain works while her role would be to maintain “quality control.”

“The collection Howard and Linda amassed spans the breadth and depth of Western art,” said Phillips chairman Cheyenne Westphal in a statement, “and keeps, at its core, a focus on the those elements which make collections truly great: connoisseurship, care, a dedicated vision and, above all, a genuine love of art.”

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