Billionaire Revlon Owner Ronald Perelman Is Reportedly Looking to Sell Off Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Worth of Art

The billionaire recently told Vanity Fair he wants "a simpler life, with less running around and more time with my family."

Ronald Perelman attends the Vanity Fair Party during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at the New York State Supreme Courthouse on April 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
Ronald Perelman attends the Vanity Fair Party during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at the New York State Supreme Courthouse on April 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

Less than a month after offloading major Joan Miró and Henri Matisse paintings at Sotheby’s London, billionaire investor and Revlon owner Ron Perelman, one of the world’s top art collectors, is offloading quite a bit more of his estimated 1,000-piece holdings. According to Bloomberg, which first reported on the arrangement, Sotheby’s will broker the sales, the majority of which will be conducted as private transactions as opposed to public auctions.

Reached by Artnet News, Sotheby’s declined to comment. Perelman’s company, MacAndrews & Forbes, did not respond to a request for comment. According to Bloomberg, the trove of art heading to market is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Notably, one of Perelman’s former in-house curators, Liz Sterling, currently serves as director of private sales at Sotheby’s New York.

Sotheby’s cross-category sale in London last month, “Rembrandt to Richter,” contained two major works from Perelman’s collection. The first, Miró’s Peinture (Femme au chapeau rouge) (1927), sold for a mid-estimate $28.7 million and was backed by an outside, or third-party, guarantee.

The second, Matisse’s Danseuse dans un intérieur, carrelage vert et noir (1942), sold for $8.3 million, well under its $10.2 million low estimate. A third work said to be from Perelman’s collection, Francis Bacons’s Portrait of John Edward (1986), was withdrawn before the sale.

Now, most of the proceeds of the 20th- and 21st-century pieces being sold from Perelman’s trove will be used to pay off a loan from Citigroup, Bloomberg reports.

The collection is said to include works by such macho blue-chip figures as Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Alberto Giacometti, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jeff Koons.

Perelman has been liquidating substantial amounts of assets of late. Last month, Vanity Fair checked in with Perelman, reporting that “he is trying to sell as many of his assets that aren’t tied down as possible.” His overall net worth was once nearly $20 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index. Currently, it’s listed at $4.7 billion. Revlon stock has also dropped roughly 68 percent this year.

Perelman “is acting like he’s closing up shop after some 40 years as a prominent Wall Street wheeler-dealer,” Vanity Fair stated. In July, he sold his 70 percent stake in AM General, the maker of the Humvee, to a private-equity firm at what sources described to the New York Post as “a fire-sale price.” (He had been asking for $2 billion, but reportedly ended up getting less than $1 billion—roughly equal to what he paid for the company in 2004.)

In a rare statement last month, Perelman told Vanity Fair he was downsizing in an effort to simplify his life. “I have spent my entire career making deals and have been through tough cycles before, and while this is certainly a challenging time, it is just that,” he said. “This period has given me the space to think carefully about myself and my business, and to reset my priorities…. A simpler life, with less running around and more time with my family, including homeschooling our youngest children, has energized me and taught me new things.”


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