Revlon Owner Ronald Perelman Sells US$90m Giacometti Sculpture to Cope With COVID Economy

As the world economy slumps into recession, American billionaire Ronald Perelman’s businesses also struggle to come back from the crisis. According to Western media, the Revlon owner has unloaded over US$350m worth of artwork through auction and in private, in an attempt to salvage his finances.  

However, the steps that Perelman has taken do not seem to be sufficient in easing his financial burden. Bloomberg reported that a piece of work by sculptor Alberto Giacometti which will be sold through Sotheby’s in a sealed bid private sale with a minimum starting bid of US$90m comes from the Perelman collection. 

Ronald Perelman is the largest stakeholder of Revlon. On his left is Revlon’s long-term spokesperson Cindy Crawford

Grande femme I by Alberto Giacometti will be sold in a sealed bid private sale at Sotheby’s 

American banker and investor Perelman owns the investment company MacAndrews & Forbes which specialises in investments in the retail sector. The business is currently the largest shareholder of the cosmetic company Revlon and engages in a diverse array of industries, from entertainment to cosmetics, security and biotechnology industries. 

As the biggest shareholder of Revlon, Perelman’s investment empire is on the verge of collapse with the cosmetic company being in the red for years and the global economy in recession. Perelman’s wealth has shrunk from US$19 billion to US$4.2 billion in the past two years. His investment empire is also under a heavy debt load.

Perelman is selling his Gulfstream G650

To cope with the challenging economic environment, the billionaire is selling almost everything: his 57-acre estate, his Gulfstream G650, his 257-foot yacht and even his treasured art collection.

As reported by Western media, the artwork that Perelman sold is worth a total of US$350m, the following are some highlights:

  • Joan Miró | Peinture (Femme au Chapeau Rouge), £22.3m (about US$28.9m), July, Sotheby’s London
  • Henri Matisse | Danseuse dans un interieur, carrelage vert et noir, £6.48m (about US$8.4m), Sotheby’s London
  • Gerhard Richter|Abstraktes Bild (649-2), HK$214.6m (about US$27.6m), Most expensive Western artwork sold in Asia, October, Sotheby’s Hong Kong
  • Mark Rothko|Untitled, US$31.2m, October, Christie’s New York
  • Willem de Kooning|Woman (Green), US$23.3m, October, Christie’s New York

Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild (649-2)

Joan Miró Peinture (Femme au Chapeau Rouge)

The 268cm-tall sculpture Grande Femme I which will appear at Sotheby’s was created in 1960 by the famous sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

Giacometti, amongst all sculptors, is the only one whose work could sell for over US$100m. The record was set in 2015 by his 177.5cm sculpture L'Homme au doigt which fetched an astonishing US$141m at Christie’s New York. 

Grande Femme I will be selling with a starting bid of US$90m at Sotheby’s sealed bid sale. All interested parties must file their interest with a sealed “best bid” offer. All qualified buyers can submit a confidential offer for the work, which is being offered subject to a reserve. At the closing of the sale on Tuesday, 27 October, at 12pm EDT, all sealed bids will be reviewed by Sotheby’s General Counsel and an outside auditor. 

The world’s most expensive sculptor Alberto Giacometti

The most expensive sculpture- L'Homme au doigt

This sealed bid auction is similar to the “Silent Auction” that Sotheby’s Hong Kong presented previously in the sense that it gives bidders more than one chance to bid, unlike traditional sealed bid auctions. 

If there is an offer that is within 5% lower than the highest offer in the first round of bidding, a second round will take place for the “Highest Bidder” and the “Runner-up Bidders”. 

Let’s say the highest bid is US$100m, if there are offers within the range of US$95,000,000-99,999,999, a second round will happen. On the contrary, when there are no offers within the range mentioned, the bidder who offers US$100m will acquire the work and a second round is unnecessary. 

A second bidding round will also take place when more than one bidder offers the highest bid.