Brad Grey, the late Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, epitomised the Hollywood dream, rising from blue-collar roots in the Bronx to the pinnacle of one of Hollywood’s most eminent studios. A beloved figure in Los Angeles and beyond, he left an indelible mark on film and television. ‘People always say, “It must be so difficult,”’ Grey once mused of his prodigious career. ‘But it’s really not. You trust your instincts.’
Under Grey’s guidance, Paramount gained market leadership and produced films such as An Inconvenient Truth, Up in the Air, There Will Be Blood, and True Grit, regularly achieving Academy Award nominations and wins in the process.
Before joining Paramount in 2005, Grey worked alongside the talent manager Bernie Brillstein, and in 1992 became a co-founder of the entertainment management firm Brillstein-Grey. Blending the role of traditional Hollywood agent with the entrepreneurial spirit of a producer, Brillstein-Grey fostered both talent and creative projects. Perhaps most notable was Grey’s role in producing The Sopranos, the groundbreaking David Chase mob series that ushered in a new golden age of television.
Grey exhibited a superb collection of fine art and design at his residence in Holmby Hills. The producer saw art as an integral component of the Hollywood spirit
Beyond his record in film and television, Grey is also remembered as a philanthropist and community advocate. In 2013 he was appointed to the board of trustees of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and served in additional leadership roles at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Project A.L.S., New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and other institutions.
In his personal life Grey was a noted tastemaker, and at his elegant residence in Holmby Hills he exhibited a superb collection of fine art and design. He saw art as an integral component of the Hollywood spirit and, as such, acquired an important collection of works by artists such as Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Prince, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, and Richard Serra.
In Agnes Martin’s Untitled #7 (estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000), a large-scale canvas from 1984, the artist combines the basic elements of art — colour and line — with a quiet yet powerful authority, encapsulating her belief in art as spiritual enlightenment.
Another of Martin’s works from the collection, Love (estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,00), painted in 2004, belongs to the artist’s final cycle of work, which she executed in her beloved Taos in New Mexico.
Cy Twombly (1928-2011), Untitled (Murder of Olofernes), 1964. Graphite, coloured pencil, wax crayon and ballpoint pen. 27½ x 39½ in (69.8 x 100.4 cm). Estimate: $500,000-700,000. This work is offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 17 May at Christie's in New York © Cy Twombly Foundation
Also offered is Cy Twombly’s Untitled (Murder of Olofernes), created in 1964 when the artist’s creativity was erupting in a torrent of works inspired by his newly adopted home city of Rome. The work shares formal affinities with his masterpiece, Leda and the Swan, from the same year.
Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015), Four Panels, 2012. Oil on canvas, four joined panels. Overall: 27 x 120 in (69 x 305 cm). Estimate: $1,800,000-2,500,000. This work is offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 17 May at Christie’s in New York © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery
An important exponent of the abstract art of the post-war era, Ellsworth Kelly created works of startling visual intensity. Four Panels from 2012 (estimate: $1,800,000-2,500,000) is a manifestation of his explorations of the relationship between colour, form and representation.
Lucian Freud (1922-2011), Lord Goodman, 1985. Charcoal on paper. 25¼ x 19¾ in (64.2 x 47.8 cm). Estimate: $700,000-1,000,000. This work is offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 17 May at Christie’s in New York © Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images
There are figurative works offered from the collection, too. Lord Goodman (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000), is a powerful 1985 charcoal portrait that stands among the most memorable of Lucian Freud’s late drawings. A masterpiece of psychological realism and exquisite draughtsmanship, it depicts Freud’s lawyer, Lord Arnold Goodman, one of the most brilliant and influential figures of the day.
Other featured works from The Collection of Brad Grey in the May Post-War & Contemporary Art sales include Richard Prince’s Untitled (Check Painting) #13, executed in 2004 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000), and Lee Ufan’s From Point, executed in 1979 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000).
Brad Grey’s art collection was complemented by modern works of furniture and design by Jean-Michel Frank, Jean Royère, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Francois-Xavier Lalanne, and others. Taken as a whole, the collection demonstrated the connoisseurship of a man fully immersed in the creative process.
Highlights in the June Design sale include Diego Giacometti’s Low Table from circa 1970 (estimate: $250,000-350,000); Pierre Chareau’s Pair of Armchairs, Model ‘MF732’, from the Grand Hôtel de Tours, circa 1924 (estimate: $200,000-300,000); and Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s Singe Avisé, circa 2005 (estimate: $100,000-150,000).
Additional works from the collection will be included in the sales of American Art, Prints and Multiples, Antiquities, Photographs, and a dedicated sale of Important Works by Alberto and Diego Giacometti later in 2018. Ahead of the New York spring sales, highlights from the collection will be presented in a special exhibition at Christie’s Los Angeles from 1-3 May.