Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs Is Selling Off His Entire Art Collection, Including a $3 Million Ed Ruscha

Jacobs says he’s clearing out the old to make way for the new.

Marc Jacobs with Richard Prince’s Untitled (Four Women Looking in the Same Direction), 1977, which carries an auction estimate of $250,000–350,000. Photo by Victoria Stevens courtesy of Sotheby's New York.
Marc Jacobs with Richard Prince’s Untitled (Four Women Looking in the Same Direction), 1977, which carries an auction estimate of $250,000–350,000. Photo by Victoria Stevens courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

After nearly 20 years of collecting art, the fashion designer Marc Jacobs is looking for a fresh start. As he prepares to sell his New York City apartment, he’s also auctioning off all the art hanging inside it. Sotheby’s has even named the New York sale “Marc Jacobs: Between Collections.”

“Everything must go!” Jacobs joked to Sotheby’s Amy Cappellazzo in an interview posted on the auction house’s website. “Currins, Peytons, Ruschas!”

Jacobs was friends with the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente coming up in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2000 that he finally felt confident enough to buy his first work of art.

“I was always really intimidated by the art world,” Jacobs said in the Sotheby’s interview. That first purchase was a trio of Mike Kelley prints, two of which are being offered in the contemporary art day auction on November 15 with estimates of $8,000–12,000. Next came Karen Kilimnik’s Mary Calling Up a Storm (1996), which could fetch up to $120,000.

Marc Jacobs's guest bedroom with works by Elizabeth Peyton and Karen Kilimnick. Photo by Victoria Stevens courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Marc Jacobs’s guest bedroom with works by Elizabeth Peyton and Karen Kilimnick. Photo by Victoria Stevens, courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Before long, the floodgates opened and Jacobs was a bonafide collector. “I was very instinctive, and I just bought things that I loved,” he told Sotheby’s. “Then I got to know these artists a little bit—some a lot—and that fed my interest in their work.”

Earlier this year, the designer and his husband, Char Defrancesco, bought a home in Rye, New York, and Jacobs put his three-bedroom West Village townhouse on the market in April for $15.9 million (the price has since dropped to $14.5 million). Even before that, Jacobs was already beginning to sell off his art as well.

At the March contemporary evening auction at Sotheby’s London, Jacobs parted ways with a number of pieces, including Basquiat’s Soothsayer for £759,000 ($1 million), Jeff Koons’s Yorkshire Terriers for £855,000 ($1.26 million), and David Hockney’s The Salesman for £350,000 ($460,000).

A pair of guaranteed photo paintings by Gerhard Richter, however, underwhelmed bidders. According to Artnet News’s Colin Gleadell, the works “barely recovered” what Jacobs had paid for them five years earlier despite selling for £735,000 ($968,657) and £1.15 million ($1.5 million).

Marc Jacobs with Ed Ruscha's <em>She Gets Angry With Him</em>, which carries an auction estimate of $2 million–3 million. Photo by Victoria Stevens courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Marc Jacobs with Ed Ruscha’s She Gets Angry at Him, which carries an auction estimate of $2 million–3 million. Photo by Victoria Stevens, courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Further sales followed over the course of the year, with Robert Ryman’s Series #30 (White) fetching $800,000 at the auction house’s contemporary art day sale in New York in May. Jacobs also had nine lots in this month’s contemporary art auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, led by Currin’s The Penitent for HK$17.57 million ($2.23 million).

Now, Jacobs is taking things to the next level for the November auctions, offloading more than 150 works at the Impressionist and Modern art day sale, the fine jewels auction, and the contemporary art day and evening sales, as well as several online auctions. The top lot looks to be Ed Ruscha’s She Gets Angry at Him, with a top estimate of $3 million. Other artists with works on offer include Urs Fischer, Andy Warhol, Francis Picabia, François-Xavier Lalanne, Alberto Giacometti, and Marcel Duchamp.

“I’m not Marie Kondo. I didn’t decide everything must go. I thought about my role as an art collector,” Jacobs said of his decision to sell. “As much as I will have a difficult time parting with them, I just felt it’s time to give myself this window to start again.”

See more photos of Jacobs’s home and art collection below.

Marc Jacobs's dining room with Urs Fischer's <em>Etruscan Paella</em>, estimated at $600,000–800,000. Photo by Victoria Stevens courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Marc Jacobs’s dining room with Urs Fischer’s Etruscan Paella, estimated at $600,000–800,000. Photo by Victoria Stevens, courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Marc Jacobs's living room with John Currin's <em>Helena</em> (left), estimated at $500,000–700,000. Photo by Victoria Stevens courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Marc Jacobs’s living room with John Currin’s Helena (left), estimated at $500,000–700,000. Photo by Victoria Stevens, courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Marc Jacobs's living room. Photo by Yoo Jean Han courtesy of Sotheby's Realty.

Marc Jacobs’s living room. Photo by Yoo Jean Han courtesy of Sotheby’s Realty.


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