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Sotheby’s buys New York landmark from Whitney in near $100mn deal

Sotheby’s has agreed to purchase the Brutalist constructing owned by the Whitney Museum of American Artwork on the Higher East Facet, in a deal that can lastly transfer the public sale home nearer to the center of the New York artwork market.

The corporate, which was bought by French billionaire Patrick Drahi in 2019 for $3.7bn, is buying the constructing in a deal value roughly $100mn, stated two folks with data of the matter. Positioned on the nook of Madison Avenue and seventy fifth Road, it was designed by Marcel Breuer and accomplished in 1966.

Sotheby’s stated it will maintain its present headquarters, wedged between medical amenities on York Avenue and alongside Manhattan’s East River. It plans to make use of the Breuer constructing as an exhibition area and can maintain important auctions there as soon as it completes renovations in 2025.

The sale solutions a query that has dogged the Breuer for the reason that Whitney moved out to the Meatpacking District close to Manhattan’s West Village in 2015: what precisely would the establishment do with the Higher East Facet constructing?

For a time it was leased by the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, however the Met finally vacated the area because it labored to handle its personal monetary troubles. The Frick then leased the area because it renovated its own residence on Fifth Avenue. Because the Frick’s 2024 homecoming neared it was unclear whether or not the Whitney would attempt to function a satellite tv for pc location on the stark granite and concrete constructing or discover a new tenant.

Rumours started to swirl this yr that Sotheby’s would step in. Charles Stewart, chief govt, on Thursday stated the constructing was “ideally located” and would enable the public sale home to “reimagine an iconic and globally famend architectural landmark”.

Sotheby’s stated it will attempt to preserve vital parts of the constructing because it renovates the area.

“We regularly confer with the provenance of paintings, and within the case of the Breuer, there isn’t any historical past richer than the museum which has housed the Whitney, Metropolitan and Frick collections,” he added.

A variety of high-profile galleries have blossomed within the space, together with the Gagosian and Mnuchin, and the Breuer is blocks from the Met’s flagship residence that counts thousands and thousands of holiday makers a yr.

Adam Weinberg, the Whitney director who led the museum’s profitable transfer downtown, stated proceeds of the sale would strengthen the establishment’s endowment and permit it to focus its efforts on its Meatpacking residence.

“The Breuer constructing will all the time be a beloved a part of the Whitney’s wealthy historical past,” he stated. “We’re happy that it’ll proceed to serve a creative and cultural function by means of the show of artworks and artefacts.”