Was Robert and Ethel Scull Art Collection Really Museum Quality?



George Segal Portrait of Robert and Ethel Scull, 1965
George Segal Portrait of Robert and Ethel Scull, 1965

Robert and Ethel Scull, once had a Pop Art Collection comprised of so many museum quality masterpieces, before disposed by Sotheby's in 1973 and 1986. In fact, the quality was so strong, it was the equivalent of multiple museums collections, now that many of the works are actually now in museum collections.

The Sculls collected first class Art by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, James Rosenquist, George Segal, John Chamberlain and dozens of other now legendary Pop Art names.

The Robert and Ethel Scull name is an Internationally recognized Blue-Chip Provenance for the vast material sold at two historic Sotheby's auctions, which changed the Contemporary Art landscape.

In 1973, the Robert & Ethel Scull auctioned 50 paintings and sculptures at Sotheby's which only yielded $2.2 million.

Sotheby's 1986 Catalogue Cover featuring James Rosenquist F-111
Sotheby's 1986 Auction Catalogue featured James Rosenquist F-111 in sale grossing $10 million
11 years later in November, 1986, 142 additional Robert & Ethel Scull Paintings & Sculpture were auctioned for $10 million at Sotheby's New York.

Acquavella Galleries has gathered 44 of the most striking works from the Scull Collection from 11 museums, 2 foundations and 22 private collectors.

The Robert and Ethel Scull Collection Exhibition "reunion" is astonishing for its quantity of Museum Quality Pop Art Masterpieces that rivals many Museums.

Jasper Johns was one of the Robert & Ethel Scull's favorites. At one point Mr. & Mrs. Scull owned 22 major Jasper Johns Works, seven of which are included in the Acquavella Exhibition, including three Jasper Johns Paintings of a Map, 1961; Double Flag, 1962; Target, 1961, and an extraordinary, large, 0-9, 1961, Charcoal and pastel on paper, a masterpiece of Jasper Johns' draughtsmanship.

Jasper Johns, Map, 1961 in the Collection of MoMA
Jasper Johns, Map, 1961, Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Jasper Johns, Map, 1961, an oil on canvas, currently in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Scull, is a Pop Art Masterpiece shown in context with other Art Works formally in the Scull Collection.

Also included in the Exhibition is Jasper Johns, Target, 1961, an encaustic and newspaper collage on canvas that Robert and Ethel Scull originally sold for $125,000, at Sotheby's 1973 historic auction.

Jasper Johns Target 1961 Encaustic on Canvas sold by Joseph K .Levene in 1989
Jasper Johns Target 1961 Encaustic on Canvas sold by Joseph K. Levene in 1989
After the 1973 Sotheby's auction, the Jasper Johns Target, 1961 Painting, was acquired by Lord Peter Palumbo, prior to its 1989 sale by Petersburg Press; at that time, Joseph K. Levene, then President/COO of Petersburg Press, Inc. made a deal to purchase the painting which was later sold to a buyer in Japan. 

The extraordinary 1961 Masterpiece brought back vivid memories when Joseph K. Levene viewed the Jasper Johns Target 22 years subsequent to viewing the Painting at Crozier's Chelsea warehouse. In 1997, the Jasper Johns Target found its current Chicago home when acquired by Stefan Edlis from the Leo Castelli Gallery.

Not included in the Exhibition is James Rosenquist's F-111, 1964-65, an 85-foot-long, 51-panel Painting, sold for a record $1.9 million at the 1986 Scull Auction, currently in the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art.

Robert Scull purchased James Rosenquist's F-111 Pop Icon, for $45,000

Robertand Ethel Scull had the good fortune of persuading Leo Castelli to sell them James Rosenquist's F-111 Pop Icon, for $45,000., a decision Leo Castelli liked since it obviated separating the painting and have 4 owners.

Also not included in the Exhibition, but making International headlines, is Andy Warhol 200 Dollar Bills, 1962, which first brought $385,000 at the 1986 Sotheby's Scull Auction, which Joseph K. Levene attended. 
Andy Warhol 200 Dollar Bills Painting achieved $43.7 million
In November 2009, the Andy Warhol 200 Dollar Bills became the second highest price Andy Warhol ever sold at public auction when the Painting achieved $43.7 million, not a bad profit!

The Acquavella Galleries Exhibition demonstrates the extraordinary eye for quality shared by the late Robert and Ethel Scull.
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Joseph K. Levene Fine Art, Ltd.

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