Highlights from The Collections of William Louis-Dreyfus

Highlights from The Collections of William Louis-Dreyfus

Exhibition at Christie’s New York from 14–18 September

Christie’s is honoured to present a non-selling exhibition of important art from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and the Louis-Dreyfus family in New York on 14-18 September and to announce the beginning of a multi-year collaboration between The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and Christie’s Outsider Art department

As a passionate patron of the arts, conscientious collector, published poet and philanthropist, William Louis-Dreyfus has assembled a standout collection that highlights the conversations between the works of trained and untrained artists. 

Works by well-known artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Helen Frankenthaler and Alberto Giacometti exist alongside pieces by contemporary artists such as Graham Nickson, Catherine Murphy and John Newman as well as self-taught artists such as James Castle, Bill Traylor, Nellie Mae Rowe, Thornton Dial and Willie Young.

Bill Traylor (1854–1949), Fighting Dogs, 1939–42. Estimate $50,000–80,000. To be offered in the Outsider Art sale at Christie’s New York on January 2019
Bill Traylor (1854–1949), Fighting Dogs, 1939–42. Estimate: $50,000–80,000. To be offered in the Outsider Art sale at Christie’s New York on January 2019

Louis-Dreyfus has transferred that inclusivity and his art holdings into the service of his other great pursuits — supporting educational programs and improving the lives of people of colour through The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation. 

As Julia Louis-Dreyfus, his daughter, comments, ‘My father was never shy about what he believed in and, more than anything, he believed in art and justice. That he has found this way to marry those two beliefs is a sweet miracle for him. It makes sense for his soul. He once told me that when he first started to collect “Outsider” art, he didn’t know that it was “Outsider” art, he just thought it was good. That his good art will do good for generations to come at the Harlem Children’s Zone is deeply satisfying for our whole family.’ 

The future of his art collection and the realisation of William Louis-Dreyfus’ vision comes with the expansion of public awareness of the Foundation and the intent to use a portion of his proceeds to support the Harlem Children’s Zone and foster the growth of under-served children.

The September 2018 exhibition at Christie’s Rockefeller Center will include approximately 60 works, featuring lots in the upcoming January 2019 auction of Outsider art alongside other important pieces acquired by Mr. Louis-Dreyfus. The exhibition will present a comprehensive look at his vision through compelling cross-category themes. Given the depth of the important self-taught holdings in the Foundation, Christie’s has planned a multi-year sale strategy beginning in January 2019 with additional property to be offered in forthcoming sales for the category.