In recent years, New York City’s residential real estate firms have begun using expensive art to entice high-end clients into their offices. Town Residential recently formed a partnership with art dealer Edward Tyler Nahem to showcase pieces from his 57th Street gallery in four of its offices, for instance. Now, the city’s largest brokerage, Douglas Elliman, has gone one step further, by transforming its Madison Avenue office into a gallery — displaying celebrities’ handwritten letters and manuscripts, including a letter written by the Beatles’ John Lennon.
The 980 Madison Avenue space, which is normally used to display pictures of New York properties, will serve as an exhibition space until December 9.
The exhibition, hosted by Profiles in History, an auctioneer and dealer of historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts, was originally slated to take place at the Fraunces Tavern Museum at 54 Pearl Street. Elliman stepped in after the museum suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. The collection is set to be auctioned post-exhibition.
“Representatives for Profiles In History reached out to us when the original museum space, the famous Fraunces Tauvern Museum, sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy and had to cancel,” said Elliman CEO Dottie Herman.” In the spirit of true New York resiliency, we were able to provide our gallery space and offer people a unique chance to see this amazing collection before it goes to auction.”
The $8 million collection includes a handwritten letter by Vincent van Gogh to his friends Monsieur and Madame Ginoux; in the letter, he tells his friends of his ailing health. It also features manuscripts by George Washington, writings by Charles Dickens, a letter written by Emily Dickinson as well as a letter from John Lennon to musician Eric Claption about forming a band. –Katherine Clarke