Socialite’s Bid for Husband’s $25 Million Art Collection Denied

What began with a Basquiat may come down to a shoe collection.

Tracey Amon, August 19, 2016. Photo by Patrick McMullan/PMC.

Amid a contentious divorce, socialite Tracey Hejalian-Amon—who is being compared with Imelda Marcos due to her vast shoe collection—was denied rights to husband Maurice Alain Amon’s art collection, which has an estimated value of $25 million.

According to a report in the New York Post, Hejalian-Amon lost her bid to cash in on the collection, which her husband removed from their Fifth Avenue apartment right before he filed for divorce in 2015 in Monaco.

His holdings reportedly include an Andy Warhol self-portrait from 1966 and a major painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Saxaphone (1986), which has been offered at auction three times in the past two decades, according to the artnet Price Database. Most recently it was offered at Christie’s New York in November 2015, with an estimate of $4 million to $6 million. It was then withdrawn, however, when Hejalian-Amon filed an injunction seeking to halt the sale.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Saxophone (1986) Photo: Christie's.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Saxophone (1986)
Photo: Christie’s.

Prior to that, it had been offered at auction in June 2012 at Sotheby’s London, where it sold for £2.7 million ($4.3 million) on an estimate of £2 million to £3 million. In a sign of just how far the market for Basquiat works has come, when the painting was offered for sale at Sotheby’s New York in November 1997, it sold for $244,500, exceeding the estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.

The collection also includes work by Alexander Calder, Richard Prince, Cy Twombly, and Takashi Murakami, according to a report in Vanity Fair.

The Post reports that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed sided with Maurice in dismissing his wife’s move to retain at least fractional ownership. However, the judge ruled that the artwork was the sole property of her husband. Hejalian-Amon’s attorneys reportedly vowed to appeal the decision.

The judge’s ruling is described by the Post as the “latest setback” in a line that includes a failed attempt to move the legal proceedings from Monaco to New York. But Amon had previously argued that Hejailian-Amon spent most of her time in Monaco, in their Monte Carlo apartment, citing the 80 pairs of shoes she kept there. In Monaco there is no concept of shared marital property.

Hejalian-Amon further risks being ordered to hand over roughly $70 million worth of gifts, according to the Post.

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