What Happens When a Collector Promises to Donate an Artwork and Then Flips It at Auction Instead? It


This article sums up some of the controversial issues that sit between the public-private divide. They are seldom discussed.

“According to Zach Feuer, Schutz’s gallerist at the time she made Civil Planning, he only agreed to sell the painting to Teiger because of a promise that the collector would immediately donate it to the Museum of Modern Art....But within weeks, the dealer received another call from the collector, in which Teiger said, in Feuer’s recollection, that ‘MoMA doesn’t really want a Schutz,’ meaning he would simply keep the painting for himself. And 15 years later, his foundation reaped a colossal reward as a result.

...some say it is becoming increasingly common in an industry where competition for the most sought-after artists is fiercer than ever—and so is the temptation to cash in on that competition’s prizes. ....Conversations with current and former gallerists, artists, and advisors confirm that false promises about institutional donations have been further warping the primary market to the advantage of the wealthy and the unscrupulous for years. And a longer look into the trend provides a vivid view of some of the trade’s deepest and most enduring fault lines.”


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