The Beastie Boys’ Mike D Is Selling His Mom’s Eclectic Art Collection at Auction for as Much as $30 Million
The top lot is a rare Bernini sculpture that could bring in as much as $12 million.
Michael “Mike D” Diamond, of Beastie Boys fame, will sell his mother’s $30 million collection of Old Masters and contemporary art—plus selections from her personal trove of memorabilia from the hip-hop group—at Sotheby’s in New York.
“My mom and dad were completely integrated into the New York City contemporary art world before I was born,” Mike D told Bloomberg. “Quite a number of the Rothkos that are sold at Sotheby’s today at some point went through my parents.”
Harold Diamond, who brought the work of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth to the US, died in 1982 at age 56. Hester Diamond died this January, at age 91.
Collecting remained a passion throughout Hester’s life. But after Harold’s passing, she shifted gears, refocusing her efforts on Old Masters while trading the antique decor in her home with contemporary furniture, delighting in the contrast between the two.
“I’m sure there was a long line of people saying: ‘Hester what are you doing? You have this incredible collection, why would you ever switch it up?’” said Mike D. But she had “this complete faith in her own point of view, and [that guided] her collecting with complete fearlessness.”
That ethos inspired the name of the upcoming Sotheby’s sale, “Fearless: The Collection of Hester Diamond,” which will take place in January. The sale will feature 60 lots including Old Masters, contemporary art, contemporary furniture, books, and crystals.
A rare Bernini sculpture, a collaboration between father and son Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is expected to be the lead lot. A rare work by the Baroque masters located in the US, Autumn is estimated to fetch between $8 million to $12 million.
Other artists featured in the sale include Old Masters Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Dosso Dossi, as well as contemporary figures Dustin Yellin and Bill Viola.
Hester also cofounded the Medici Archive Project, which has worked to digitize and preserve documents from Florence’s historic Medici family, and VISTAS (short for Virtual Images of Sculpture in Time and Space), which supports scholarship on European sculpture from 1200 to 1800.
The collector was also one of the victims of Lawrence Salander, an art dealer convicted in 2010 of stealing $120 million from clients and investors, including $6 million of her money.
See more works from the sale and photographs of Hester’s apartment below.
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