Money, art and Lehman Brothers

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Trying to escape the financial and political news the other day, I scrolled down on artnet reading all the art news articles. These are full of gossip, financial stuff, personnel changes and other glue that sticks the art world together. Sept. 17’s column brought me right back to our financial times with a segment on how the failure of Lehman Brothers would affect the art world and especially art museums, many of which are recipients of now-bankrupt firm’s charitable giving.

In addition to MoMA and the Guggenheim here’s the list of museums that have been helped by Lehman (quoting from artnet):

… the American Folk Art Museum, the Asia Society, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Dahesh Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the International Center of Photography, the Japan Society, the Jewish Museum, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Museum of Arts & Design, the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In New York, that’s what you call a “royal flush.”

Elsewhere in the United States, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, N.Y., the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are all listed by Lehman Brothers as having been beneficiaries of the firm’s giving in 2007.

Nor is the damage limited to the U.S. In the UK, Lehman is partnered with the National Gallery, the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In Germany, Lehman has given to Frankfurt’s Städel Museum. In France, it supports the Musée du Louvre. And in Japan, Lehman is listed as a “Diamond”-level supporter of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum (in fact, Lehman shares a headquarters with the Mori in the Mori Tower).

Finally, the article says Lehman had one of the “most distinguished corporate art collections” and that it was housed in the only solvent part of Lehman exempt from Ch. 11, the Neuberger Berman section. Newberger Berman was just sold for $2.15billion….None of the reports I read mentioned anything about the art collection….It may be worth something but it wasn’t worth mentioning in the sale reports.

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