Art from Lehman's European branches to be auctioned

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Artwork from the European branches of the collapsed US investment bank Lehman Brothers will go under the hammer in London next month in a two-million-pound auction, administrators said Sunday.

Works by Lucian Freud and Gary Hume will figure at the sale at Christie's auction house on September 29, which comes two years after the bank's demise, said administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

"We think that there are many people around the world who would like to acquire some art with a Lehman connection," said Barry Gilbertson from PWC.

"The auction date was selected to approximately coincide with the second anniversary of the administrations," he added.

Benjamin Clark, the director of corporate collections at Christie's London, described the sale as "a fascinating glimpse into the history of what was a giant of the financial world".

As well as art, PWC said "selected items of interest" would be up for grabs at the sale, which it is hoped will raise the equivalent of 3.2 million dollars or 2.4 million euros.

One such item is the sign which used to adorn Lehman's offices in the Canary Wharf business district of London, which is hoped will fetch up to 3,000 pounds.

A commemorative plaque from when former prime minister Gordon Brown -- who was finance minister at the time -- opened the offices in 2004 will also be on offer. It is expected to sell for up to 1,500 pounds.

The London auction will take place shortly after a separate sale of Lehman art in New York.

Sotheby's auctioneers are organising the US sale on September 25, which is valued at more than 10 million dollars and comprises some 400 works by artists including Damien Hirst and Gerhard Richter.

The firm had 639 billion dollars in assets on September 15, 2008, when it filed for bankruptcy. It was the largest collapse in US history and sent the global economy into a tailspin.

© 2010 AFP

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