Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Often looking scruffy in hiking boots and rolled-up khaki pants, Mr. Rau trusted only his instinct and his eye"

I thought this was interesting, from Carol Vogel's piece in Friday's New York Times regarding Gustav Rau, whose estate is selling 10 works at Sotheby's in London in July:

"After his father died in the late 1960s, he sold the family business and went to medical school. He first worked as a doctor in Nigeria, then spent 20 years in what is now Congo, where he built a village hospital. In failing health, Mr. Rau returned to Europe permanently in the early 1990s and settled in Monaco. But he became disoriented, perhaps because, as a doctor, he medicated himself, and was found roaming the streets. Employees of one of his foundations filed lawsuits challenging Mr. Rau’s mental competency, and as a result, his assets, including his art collection, were briefly frozen. But he regained control and in 2001 announced a gift of 700 works to the German branch of Unicef. Included in the gift was one group of works that he stipulated could not be sold for 25 years; the rest could be disposed of to finance medical care. The remaining 300 some works in his collection were left to his estate. ... His estate is selling [these] 10 works now to cover the cost of running his hospital in Africa and other expenses."