NEW YORK—The Broad Art Foundation, founded in 1984 by Los Angeles collectors Eli and Edythe L. Broad, announced on May 4 that it has added 570 artworks by Joseph Beuys (1921-86) to its already substantial collection of contemporary art.
The group of works “comprises the most complete examples from the artist’s well-known multiples in the United States and was acquired ‘en masse’ for an undisclosed amount” from Berlin-based collector Reinhard Schlegel, according to a statement from the Broad Foundation. Schlegel, who knew the artist, collected the works over a period of 25 years.
Owning a complete set of Beuys’ multiples is extremely rare, says Gerard Goodrow, director of the annual fair Art Cologne and an expert on Beuys. Other groupings of the multiples—which are made out of a variety of materials, including gray felt, bottles, reels of film and fish bones—are in the collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass.; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany.
Goodrow had advised Schlegel regarding a possible sale of the Beuys collection about four years ago. At that time, the works were valued at about $5 million, Goodrow says. (A spokeswoman for Broad did not comment on the purchase price.) The record at auction for a work by the artist was the £299,200 ($520,347) paid at a Sotheby’s London sale of contemporary art last February for the 1959 mixed-media work Horn.
Joanne Heyler, director and chief curator of the Broad Art Foundation, said the newly acquired works “spectacularly deepen the representation of late-20th- century German art in the Broads’ collection. They will be a large part of our ‘lending library’ program.”
The addition brings the number of works in the Broad Foundation trove to nearly 1,400. Eli and Edythe Broad’s personal collection of works by postwar artists, including such names as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, includes an additional 400 works. The multiples will be exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum, scheduled to open in late 2007.
For a number of years, Eli Broad has been listed as one of the top ten collectors in ARTnews magazine’s annual ranking of the top 200 art collectors in the world.