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MoMA Gets Windfall from Trove of Edward Broida

Los Angeles collector Edward R. Broida has donated 174 works from his collection to New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and is selling 14 other pieces at the Christie’s November sales of Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art.

EW YORK—Los Angeles collector Edward R. Broida has donated 174 works from his collection to New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and is selling 14 other pieces at the Christie’s November sales of Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art.

Broida, who is 71 and has been suffering from cancer for more than two years, told ARTnewsletter, “I want to deal with my art collection myself during my lifetime, while I still have all my faculties and could do a good job of it.” Broida said he is no longer an active art buyer.

Among the artworks given to MoMA are paintings and sculpture by Richard Artschwager, Jennifer Bartlett, Jake Berthot, Mark di Suvero, Elizabeth Murray, Bruce Nauman, Martin Puryear, Harvey Quaytman, Susan Rothenberg, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Richard Tuttle and Christopher Wilmarth.

The 174 pieces are presently in MoMA’s study and storage facility in Queens, where they are being catalogued; they are expected to be “enmeshed in the collection,” in total or in part, in the second-floor contemporary gallery sometime in 2006, spokeswoman Kim Mitchell told ARTnewsletter. The gift reportedly is worth about $50 million.

The Christie’s sale includes several major multimillion-dollar artworks, among them: Mark Rothko’s 1954 painting Homage to [Henri] Matisse (estimate: $15 million); two paintings by Philip Guston, the 1953-54 Zone (estimate: $4/6 million) and the 1957 The Mirror (estimate: $3/5 million); David Smith’s 1945 sculpture Jurassic Bird (estimate: $2/3 million); and Franz Kline’s 1959 painting Washington Wall (estimate: $2.5/4 million). The entire collection is estimated to fetch $35 million.

A successful architect and real estate developer in southern California, Broida began acquiring art in 1978, four years after his retirement from

R&B Properties. His first art purchases were two later paintings by Guston (1913-80), purchased from the McKee Gallery, and he eventually bought approximately 20 works by the artist.

Broida acquired paintings and sculpture for his collection, generally one piece at a time and through art dealers—primarily David McKee and Paula Cooper, as well as Richard Bellamy, Miani Johnson and others. However, he also made purchases through auctions—such as the Smith sculpture in the Christie’s sale that he had purchased at a Christie’s auction in 1978 for $100,000. Over the past 20 years he has been looking to keep the bulk of his acquisitions together and in a museum.

Broida’s entire collection numbers more than 600 paintings and sculpture, reports Laura Paulson, senior vice president of Christie’s postwar and contemporary art department. Some of the works in the collection will go to Broida’s children; others are slated for the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston.

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