One of the biggest art sales in history was conducted quietly by a pair of bankers who sold $653m (£565m) of art in the final days of a bitter divorce
Fifty-two works by 48 artists were sold in London by hedge fund billionaire Edamame Securities executive George Soros to pay his wife, Cherry, a divorce settlement of almost $675m.
The company has now revealed the identity of the British bankers who led the negotiations on the seven-month sale and said that Soros, a Hungarian émigré, had bought the art before the couple’s divorce.
The works, worth almost $66m each, were bought from Yves Bouvier, the millionaire art dealer to the super-rich, the US magazine Forbes reported.
The Flemish dealer had sold the works to Soros directly for almost $1.1bn in 2012 and resold them to one of the brokers, True Value, or to unnamed private buyers, in September 2012, shortly before the divorce was finalised, according to the database of True Value.
Soros, who is worth $22bn, said in a statement that he realised the art market was “on a roll” and that “if we kept hold of these old master paintings, I thought they were going to double in value in the next couple of years”.
The sale’s discovery comes as several of the world’s richest women continue to dominate the art market with prices continuing to hit records.
Britain’s wealthiest woman, Amanda Staveley, said the world’s biggest art fair, Frieze, had once again highlighted that she was “the leading player in finance, sport and art”.
“I’m also driving the biggest British IPO of the year, helping some of the most famous fashion brands in the world to launch their e-commerce sites and put an end to the annoying valet we have had to accept for too long,” she said.