Lehman Brothers' Art Collection For sale

By: Timothy McFarlin | Published: June 8th, 2010 | Category: Budget & Debts

Lehman Brothers’ impressive corporate contemporary art collection, which includes over 400 pieces, will be auctioned in the fall. The $10+ million collection is being auctioned to help pay back creditors of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.

According to Sotheby’s, the works of art, made by prominent artists including Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince and Julie Mehretu, will be sold on September 25th, pending bankruptcy court approval.

Lehman Brothers Holdings filed for bankruptcy in September of 2008. It was the start of one of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression as Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy in this country’s history.

Lehman Brothers Holdings spokeswoman, Kimberly Macleod said the auction was an excellent “platform to maximize the value of the collection to pay creditors.”

Lehman and the management company Neuberger Berman joined forces in 2003 and thus, combined their art collections. Neuberger reestablished itself as an independent firm; their founder, Roy Neuberger, was a major art collector who founded the Neuberger Museum of Art, on the campus of the State University of New York, in Purchase.

In 2007, the Lehman Brothers closed its subprime lender, BNC Mortgage, ridding itself of nearly 1,200 positions throughout 23 locations. As well, it took an after-tax charge of $25 million and a $27 million reduction in goodwill. Lehman, at the time, said poor market conditions in the mortgage space “necessitated a substantial reduction in its resources and capacity in the subprime space.”

A year later, Lehman faced an unprecedented loss to the continuing subprime mortgage crisis. Lehman’s loss came as a result of having held on to large positions in subprime; and other lower-rated mortgage tranches when securitizing the underlying mortgages.

In the second fiscal quarter of 2008, Lehman reported losses of $2.8 billion and was soon forced to sell off $6 billion in assets. In the first half of ‘08, Lehman stock lost 73% of its value.

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