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The Company Line – Smart Collector

GE’S CORPORATE ART COLLECTION MADE OVER $1 MILLION THIS YEAR, AND THERE’S MORE TO COME

By Christina Rees



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Hedda Sterne’s 1982 “Vertical-Horizontal, No. 7” sold for $275,000 at a Heritage auction in May 2022.





JThe Heritage Auctions summer auction continues its success as a partner of corporate art collections – in this case, General Electric’s diverse and culturally significant collection. Select works by American luminaries such as Stuart Shils, Tony Rosenthal and Grace Hartigan are part of the lineup for Heritage’s August 11 Fine and Decorative Arts auction, featuring the art collection company GE.

Heritage’s work with the GE collection has proven extremely successful. Previous auctions this year have brought in over $1 million, selling works by Robert Motherwell, Chuck Close and Larry Bell, as well as an oil and pastel on canvas work by Hedda Sterne which brought in $275,000. Other highlights from GE’s auction include works by Australian-American sculptor Clement Meadmore and American painter Woody Gwyn.

“Nearly every Fortune 500 company in the world has significant art collections, and Heritage has been helping companies with their collections for many years,” says Taylor Curry, director of modern and contemporary art at the new office. Yorkers from Heritage Auctions. “Whether increasing or reducing the collection, Heritage is able to help anyone with their large corporate collection needs.”

As more people work from home, downsizing of collections is gaining popularity as major corporations rethink their art collections in this era of massive physical downsizing – the spaces in which they have historically displayed collections selected. Because of this, collectors have the chance to acquire excellent works by their favorite artists, with the added bonus of desirable corporate collection provenance.

“Having this corporate provenance is something our private collectors appreciate and feel confident about bidding,” says Rebecca Van Norman, Director of Print and Multiple Consignment at Heritage Auctions. “That confidence leads to great results. Indeed, companies pay particular attention to hiring a person whose responsibility is to maintain, preserve and research all the works in the collection.



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Clement L. Meadmore (1929-2005).  Open End, 1983


Clement L. Meadmore’s 1983 “Open End” fetched $68,750 at a Heritage auction in May 2022.





The GE collection, which has been managed by art consultant Glenn Macura and his team for more than 20 years, features strong holdings in modern and contemporary art, and the works at the August auction are eminently accessible. seasoned collectors and new collectors. The sale includes two intimate landscapes by Stuart Shils from the 1990s. These coveted paintings – oil and paper on board – embody the artist’s gestural brushwork that captures the atmospheric mood associated with Shils’ early plein-air painting years. .

In addition to the two works by Shils, Heritage’s August auction features an excellent work by Tony Rosenthal: Big Six I, circa 1977 embodies the distinctive work of the American sculptor. Rosenthal is the sculptor of the sculptor par excellence. His monumental, instantly recognizable public works have punctuated American cityscapes and landscapes for decades. Big Six I is the artist’s study for his famous big six public works of art; here, Rosenthal’s signature black welded steel form precedes the 14-foot-tall structure located at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia.



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Grace Hartigan (American, 1922-2008).  This so-called angel, 1961


Grace Hartigan’s ‘This So-called Angel’, 1961 (estimate: $1,000-$1,500) will be offered at Heritage’s fine and decorative arts auction on August 11.





Women artists also have a strong presence in the GE Collection and in Heritage’s August event, which features work by Grace Hartigan, the American Abstract Expressionist painter who was also a member of the prestigious New York School of 1940s to 1960s (his friends included Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Frank O’Hara and Jackson Pollock). Hartigan Special Edition Silkscreen This so called angel, from 1961, combines elements of his earlier Total Abstraction and his later emerging figures and motifs. At this time Hartigan used her own name – Grace – while early in her career she sometimes exhibited as “George Hartigan”, hoping to attract greater recognition for her work.

“The GE corporate art collection is a great example of a carefully curated collection featuring a variety of artists, media and settings,” says Van Norman. “This collection has also taken the time to have a great curator whose research and attention has led to its breadth and enthusiasm.”

CHRISTINE REES is a contributor to Smart Collector.