Former Goldman Sachs’ employee John Whitehead sadly passed away earlier this February, leaving behind a vast fortune including real estate, automobiles, and even art. For art collectors, Whitehead’s collection was a jackpot. John Whitehead possessed a total of 90-pieces in his collection, including rare pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, and Amedeo Modigliani. His collection is valued at over $40 million.
It is reported that Whitehead had a few pieces valued from $7-$10 million, including the Portrait de Beatrice Hastings by Modigliani from 1916.
Whitehead began working at Goldman Sachs’ in the late 1940’s and worked his way up the corporate ladder. On the way he picked up a few tips and developed a love for the arts. John’s own art advisor Achim Moeller explained,
Naturally, I have always esteemed the relationship between the collector and his art advisor. For this reason alone, I regard my own with John Whitehead as an achievement, akin to noteworthy collector-advisor associations that have existed through a great part of art history.”
Both Whitehead and Moeller hoped the vast collection would be sold in a lot to keep the art together, but it is evident that the pieces will create a greater profit if they are solid separately.
Besides the Beatrice Hastings piece, he also has a Claude Money from 1888, Paysage de matin, which is expected to bring in anywhere from $6-$8 million alone.
Whitehead used his Wall Street wits to land him most of his collection, but he did get lucky in some scenarios purchasing the Modigliani for only $10,500, now worth over $10 million. Whitehead explained in his biography,
This sort of appraisal was entirely new to me, nothing like anything I’d had to do at Goldman Sachs or any other aspect of my life … but I remained enough of a financier that I took an interest in the prices, and I tried to predict what price an individual piece would go for at auction.”
Rather then going for the main auction at the show, he would go for the ones which he believed would increase in value overtime. This strategy worked leaving him close to $100 million in art work.
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