Phillips auction house is in talks to sell more than 200 works previously owned by former art adviser Lisa Schiff, who remains embroiled in allegations of fraud. The sales would continue the liquidation of Schiff’s assets, as she seeks to satisfy creditors in two civil lawsuits seeking at least $1.8m. Pending court approval, the auctions will take place across multiple sales in 2024.
Estimates place the value of all lots at $1.5m, with the bulk of the value coming from the inclusion of works by blue-chip artists including Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Richard Prince. Additional highlights include pieces by Katherine Bradford, Ivy Haldeman and Anicka Yi tentatively scheduled for the house’s New Now auction in March, as well as a work by Ben Quilty currently expected to hit the auction block in May, according to a report by Observer.
An additional 900 works have been listed for potential sale beyond the 200 due to be auctioned by Phillips, as bankruptcy litigators attempt to create a comprehensive index of Schiff’s holdings across various enterprises. Of these additional works, 800 pieces, collectively valued at $3.1m, were added to a list of assets for Schiff Fine Arts in August, and another 100, valued at $1.1m, have been listed as currently missing. Speaking to Observer, Douglas Pick, who was assigned to oversee Schiff’s asset liquidation, said: “We’re still making efforts to find missing inventory.” On 14 November, Pick filed a separate claim against Schiff regarding missing artworks, requesting that she forfeit an additional 114 items owned personally.
The potential sale of all these works would help repay creditors and cover the costs of Schiff’s ongoing legal battles with clients, art business professionals and auctioneers who have made allegations of fraud against Schiff’s advising practice. Among the plaintiffs are Schiff’s longtime client and former friend Candace Barasch, seeking at least $2.5m over a number of incomplete art purchases, Sotheby’s head of private sales David Schrader, Stephen Friedman gallery senior director Mira Dimitrova and the artist Seffa Klein. Collector Richard Grossmann, named in an earlier hearing, is seeking $2.3m. Beyond these individual cases, court documents list roughly 50 unsecured claims, with some totalling almost $1m each.