Collection of John Richardson, art critic and biographer of Picasso, will be auctioned this fall

Interior of John Richardson's apartment with work by Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (estimate: $ 150,000 - $ 250,000)

The Richardson collection, including works by P. Picasso, P. Chelishchev, J. Braque, F. Bacon, L. Freud, E. Warhol will be sold by Sotheby’s and Stair Galleries.

In September 2020, at the auction houses Sotheby’s and Stair Galleries, it will be possible to compete for items from the collection of the renowned art specialist of the 20th century and author of one of the most authoritative biographies of Pablo Picasso, John Richardson. In addition to his friendship with many prominent authors of the 20th century, Richardson was also an avid collector. The uniqueness of its collection is given by the fact that often works of art fell into it as gifts from friends. So, among the items in his collection, you can find his own portrait in oil by Lucian Freud, the work of Warhol, and Picasso with donative inscriptions and a unique selection of graphics by Pavel Chelishchev, with whom Richardson communicated a lot and was friends.

Benjamin Doller, head of Sotheby’s US office, recalls his first acquaintance with Richardson’s collection: I could hardly concentrate on the paintings [that hung there] because there were so many works in the loft. I just wanted to descry everything. It was one of those interiors that, as I like to say, only the British can create. This is their innate style.

Richardson’s interior fascinated Doller so much that initially when planning a pre-auction exhibition, he wanted to recreate an exact copy of it in the showrooms of the auction house. But then, given the eclecticism and different price categories of the collection items, it was decided to abandon these plans. As a result, Richardson’s collection was split between two auction houses. On September 16-17, 2020, Stair Galleries will be holding the John Richardson: A Scholar Collects auction, which will include home furnishings and furniture, as well as mid-range and affordable art from the collection.

Paintings and graphics, including works by P. Picasso, P. Chelishchev, J. Braque, F. Bacon, L. Freud, E. Warhol, and other authors of the first row, will be sold by the auction house Sotheby’s as part of several separate auctions in September this year. According to the auction house, the dates of sales of individual lots are still being specified, but it is known that, for example, the work of Andy Warhol will be sold separately, in the format of online sale, and one of the most interesting works of the collection, a portrait of Richardson by Freud, will be shown at the pre-auction exhibition but it will not be sold. According to the will of the collector, it will be given to the National Portrait Gallery in London.


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