A Rubens Masterpiece Could Fetch $35 Million at the Auction of Divorcing Couple Mark Fisch and Rachel Davidson’s $177 Million Baroque Art Collection

As a Met Board member, Mark Fisch was behind some of the museum’s largest acquisitions. As a private citizen, retired real estate developers are now behind the most valuable Old Master. Used to come to bid.

When Sotheby’s opens its Masters Week on January 26, 2023, all eyes will be on Peter Paul Rubens. Salome Presents with Severed President of Saint John the BaptistMacabre’s first work was rediscovered in 1998. Experts estimate that it could sell for up to $ 35 million, five times more than the price paid for it at the 1998 New York Sotheby’s auction, then the record for Rubens was auctioned off.

The 1609 work is one of 10 paintings from the Fisch Davidson Collection that arrive at Sotheby’s with courtesy of the divorce between Fisch and Rachel Davidson, a former New Jersey judge. Featuring 17th and 18th century works by Orazio Gentileschi, Valentin de Boulogne and Bernardo Cavallino, the auction house is labeling the collection as “one of the most important collections of Baroque art ever on the market.” .

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Away from the auction block, this split is notable for its potential to have a long-term impact on the divorce process in New York State. The attorneys of wealthy clients seeking divorce have long been running to become the first applicants, often in small districts where they feel the judges will be conservative and partial. For rich men, that is a practice known as the “shopping platform”. Fisch’s attempt to sue in Suffolk County, where the couple’s $ 4 million vacation home in Southampton, was rejected by an appeals court, forcing him to fight a divorce in Manhattan.

Prior to the January auction, paintings from the $ 177 million collection were on display at Sotheby’s New York, and later on in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and London. In addition to Rubens, highlights include Penitent Saint Mary Magdalene, The latest Renaissance works by Orazio Gentileschi ($ 4 million to $ 6 million) and images recently discovered by the leading artist of the French Caravaggio movement Georges de la Tour. Saint James the Greater ($ 3.5 million to $ 5 million). Also of interest is Valentin de Boulogne’s Christ reigns with thorns ($ 4 million to $ 6 million) depicting Jesus facing a bizarre work punishment, it was first sold for $ 5.2 million at Sotheby’s in 2016.

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The Fisch Davidson Collection auction comes after sales that sparked other notable divorces, such as the $ 922 million Macklowe Collection, the most valuable collection ever sold at auction. Also Sotheby’s. January sales may lack the workforce of Warhol, Rothko and Richter will all enter the market at the same time, but the circumstances surrounding the 2023 event are no less bitter.

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