The vast art collection of television producer Douglas S. Cramer, who amassed prime works by Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Roy Lichtenstein over several decades, will be auctioned in November. A total of 130 works from the collection will be sold across evening and day sales at Sotheby’s New York in November. They are expected to fetch a collective $30 million.
Among the top lots that will hit the block next month is Roy Lichtenstein’s Two Paintings: Craig… (1983), which features his signature Ben-Day dot scheme and comic-book blonde heroine. It is expected to fetch $12-$18 million. Ellsworth Kelly’s geometric abstraction White Relief over Black (2012), made a few years prior to his death in 2015, is expected to sell for $2.5-$3.5 million. Ed Ruscha’s 1967 black-and-white text painting, reading “Face it” in bold type, has an estimate of $400,00o-600,000.
Cecily Brown’s large-scale and variegated painting Spree (1999) is estimated at $3-$4 million. It will be offered alongside others by the likes of Elizabeth Peyton, Mark Grotjahn, and Lisa Yuskavage, whose careers began in the 1990s.
Cramer, once the head of Paramount Television, was known as a key figure in launching successful television shows such as The Love Boat, Wonder Woman, Dynasty, Mission: Impossible, and others. After amassing the fortune that allowed him to acquire the postwar art era’s biggest names, he served on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Cramer had become influential in Southern California because of his involvement in the founding of MOCA in 1979, and even before that he held sway among collectors in the nascent L.A. art scene. “Doug was way ahead of the curve,” West Coast talent agent Michael Ovitz said in an interview. “He gave a lot of psychological backing to those of us who were just starting out collecting, because it gave us something to look at.”
Works from the collection will go on public view at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong until October 11 and travel to London and Los Angeles before returning to New York ahead of the contemporary art evening sale on November 18.