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Lehman’s Taste Futures

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Kathy Fuld, the wife of former Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld, is a trustee at MoMA, and the bankrupt firm owns pieces by Jasper Johns and Frank Stella—about 4,000 artworks in all, estimated at $30 million. Now Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is trying to unwind its aesthetic holdings, but don’t expect a blowout auction of the Lehman Bros. collection anytime soon. Lehman has hired an art consultant, Kelly Wright. He’d previously assisted in art disposition in both the Arthur Andersen and Warnaco bankruptcies for creditor-advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal and says he’s already “pursuing avenues of disposition.” However, Lehman’s in no rush. “We are not anticipating the imminent sale of art, particularly under the likely current market conditions,” says Lehman managing director Francine Kittredge. Furthermore, Barclays, which purchased Lehman’s investment-banking and capital- markets operations, and Neuberger Berman, the firm’s former asset-management arm, still have right of first refusal on portions of the collection. “We know exactly what we’re dealing with,” adds Wright. “Art is ultimately a commodity, just like any investment tool, and when it’s high, it’s high, and when it’s low, it’s low.” The Fulds themselves unloaded some works at auction last fall, including an Arshile Gorky drawing titled Study for Agony I.

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