The Collection of Alan Dershowitz and Carolyn Cohen
I've always been a collector. As a kid I collected Brooklyn Dodger autographs, baseball cards, comic books, stamps, coins, bottle tops, and anything else that could fit into one drawer in the bureau I shared with my younger brother (and even some things that couldn't, like tropical fish). I never threw anything away (except the dead fish), much to my mother's chagrin.
"What are you gonna do with all that junk?" my mother would ask imploringly.
"It's gonna be valuable someday," I would respond, pointing with pride to my neatly organized treasures.
And they would have been valuable someday--at least the comic books and the baseball cards--had my mother not thrown them out the minute I left home for law school (I lived at home while attending Brooklyn College). I once found a t-shirt that well summarized my plight (and that of an entire generation of young collectors). It said, "I once was a millionaire, then my mother threw my baseball cards away."
I never thought I could afford to collect great art, since I have always lived on a budget. But I bought my first piece of real art for $25 in 1965, when I was a 27 year-old assistant professor. I was sent on an all expenses paid trip to Paris by the dean of the law school. His pretense was that he wanted me to look at schools of criminology, but I have always suspected that he really wanted to expose me to European culture, since I was probably the only Harvard faculty member who had never traveled abroad.
While in Paris, I went to a number of art galleries. At one of them, I saw a Kandinsky lithograph. The asking price was the equivalent of $50 (the Franc was quite weak then), but I bargained the owner down to $25. It was my first art purchase and it still hangs proudly in our home.
When Carolyn and I married in 1986 and subsequently moved into a large home with lots of wall space, we became serious collectors. Our tastes are similarly eclectic. We both love "transitional" art--paintings done by artists who were transitioning between periods or genres. Our collection has grown over the years to include Impressionist, Surrealist and Post-War paintings and sculptures. We are drawn to art with stories or a history behind it that enhances its aesthetic for us. We love the idea that our antiquities existed in ancient times and are now in a suburb of Boston. We like art that evokes both an emotional and cerebral response.
Now that we are approaching retirement and downsizing, we will continue to collect, but on a smaller scale. We hope our beloved art finds wonderful homes, and we hope to be able to discuss "our" art with anyone who "adopts" it.
Christie's is honored to present works from the Collection of Alan Dershowitz and Carolyn Cohen this spring in our 25 April Prints & Multiples Sale, 2 May Impressionist & Modern Art Day and Works on Paper Sales, 9 May Post-War & Contemporary Art Morning Session, 8 June Antiquities Sale, 18 June Interiors Sale, 19 July Prints & Multiples Sale and 19 September First Open Post-War & Contemporary Art Sale.
Property from the Collection of Alan Dershowitz and Carolyn Cohen