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Christie’s Will Offer The Collection of Jacques and Emy Cohenca



oil on canvas
78¾ x 71  in. (200 x 180.7 cm.)
Painted in 1984.
ENDURING THREADS: THE COLLECTION OF JACQUES AND EMY COHENCA GERHARD RICHTER (B. 1932) Spoleto oil on canvas 78¾ x 71 in. (200 x 180.7 cm.) Painted in 1984. $8,000,000-12,000,000

This May, Christie’s is honored to present highlights from Enduring Threads: The Collection of Jacques and Emy Cohenca. Work from the collection will be sold in the 20th Century Evening Sale, the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale and the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale during the Spring Marquee Week. The group that will be sold this May comprises 12 works by iconic artists, including phenomenal examples by Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, and Louise Bourgeois, all of which will highlight the 20th Century Evening Sale.

The group is led by Spoleto (estimate: $8,000,000 – 12,000,000), a painting by Gerhard Richter that was acquired by Emy Cohenca in 1985, the year it was painted. Additional highlights include Joan Mitchell’s Hours ($3,000,000 – 5,000,000), a 1989 canvas Emy Cohenca also acquired the year of its creation, and Siblings by Lee Krasner ($5,000,000 – 7,000,000) a fantastic painting comprised of the artistic language that emerged from the artist following the death of her husband. Together, the collection is expected to total in excess of $22,000,000 .

The Cohencas’ collection is indicative of their enduring passion for the arts and reflective of the rich and varied cultural influences they each experienced throughout their lifetimes. Emy was born in South America to a Syrian father and an Italian-raised, Syrian mother and grew up in Cairo during the era of British Colonial rule. As a member of a Jewish family growing up in Egypt, she described the city as a “tossed salad” of origins and ethnicities. It was in Egypt where she met her future husband Jacques Cohenca. Born in Alexandria and educated at Italian, Jesuit, and French schools, he had a similarly cosmopolitan upbringing. The couple married in 1951 and relocated to New York where Jacques would go on to found a successful industrial importing company. Together, they built a singular collection of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper that span time, medium, and geography. With exemplary works by pioneering female artists including Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell and Lee Krasner—all acquired at a time when they were often overlooked—this collection is a true testament to the couple’s prescient connoisseurship.

Barrett White, Deputy Chairman, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Americas, remarks, “Spanning centuries and continents, this collection is testament to Jacques and Emy Cohenca and their erudite taste. Unmatched both in its quality and breadth, the works are demonstrative of a clear vision and a sophisticated eye. We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase this exquisite collection this May during our Spring Marquee Week.”

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability by reducing our carbon emissions by 50% and pledging to be net zero by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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