PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF LEE V. EASTMAN
Any serious student, collector, museum director, curator or dealer in the mid-60s onwards was aware of the Lee V. Eastman Collection. An avid collector of 20th century Art, Eastman formed one of the most important Post-War collections, featuring major works by the masters of that generation: namely, de Kooning, Rothko, Kline, Albers, Guston, Motherwell and others. With the same impeccable taste he also acquired earlier 20th century artists, including Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti.
This was not an instant collection but a very personal one formed over thirty years from the 1950s through the 1970s. He often bought works at the time they were created, before the artists had achieved the status they later enjoyed He collected in depth. He had over 30 paintings, drawings and sculptures by de Kooning, dating from a small 1944 Untitled (Lot 14) painting to a ravishing 1977 abstract (Lot 15).
As an early collector of many of the then unknown artists, Lee was committed to championing their careers by generously lending works to their museum exhibitions and opening his apartment to collectors and art professionals. A visit to the apartment of Lee and Monique, his wife, was never hurried Lee's sense of humor, his stories of the early days of the New York School, his energy and love of art and people were magnetic and infectious. He opened the eyes of many collectors and his collection celebrated one of the most important periods of American art.