Friday, April 2, 2010

Michael Crichton: The Art Guru

After checking out the Tim Burton exhibit last night at the Museum of Modern Art (AMAZING. And amazingly crowded!), I found it incredibly ironic to stumble across an AP article in Washington Post article this morning about author Michael Crichton's personal art collection going up for auction:

NEW YORK -- Best-selling author Michael Crichton approached art in the same way he did his writing -- through extensive research -- but also by developing close friendships with many of the artists whose works he collected.

When he died in 2008, the thriller writer left behind such blockbusters as "Jurassic Park," ''The Andromeda Strain" and the TV series "ER." But he also left a 20th-century art collection that features some of pop art's best known artists, including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg.

Crichton's family is selling about 80 percent of the collection at Christie's auction house in New York on May 11-12.

Among the highlights is Johns's "Flag," a rendition of the American flag that Crichton bought from the artist in 1974, and which decorated the writer's Beverly Hills bedroom. It was last exhibited in 1992-93 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

About 70 of the 100 works from the collection, including paintings by Jeff Koons, Pablo Picasso and Robert Rauschenberg, will be displayed at Christie's Rockefeller Center galleries Friday through April 13.

Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman of Christie's Americas, said Crichton was generous in lending works from his collection for exhibitions, but that he was possessive about the "Flag."

"With the 'Flag,' it was such a personal thing because of his relationship with Johns," Gorvy said.

Their close friendship and Crichton's knowledge of Johns's work led the artist to ask Crichton to write the catalog for his 1977 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Gorvy said that Crichton was renowned as a leading authority on Johns within the art world and that the Whitney catalog, expanded and reprinted, has become the definitive text on the artist.

The "Flag" has a pre-sale estimate of $10 million to $15 million. Christie's believes it will set a new record for the artist. "It will go substantially higher," given that the work "is so superb and rare . . . and coming from a famous fella and also from someone who understood the artist," Gorvy said.

The record for a Johns work is $18 million for "Figure 4," set at Christie's in 2007. A larger flag of the artist's seminal image was purchased privately last month for $110 million by hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen, Gorvy said.

Crichton "was a master of research" in his art collecting as much as in his writing, he said. "He collected artists in depth to know them better." Crichton, one of the world's most commercially successful writers, also forged close friendships with Oldenburg, Lichtenstein and Rauschenberg.

See the article HERE

I never knew that Crichton was was such an art connoisseur, just as--for some strange reason--I never really thought of Tim Burton as being a painter or a sculptor.

I love when people surprise me. :)

I also would love to be a fly on the wall of that auction!

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