March 04, 2015

Harlem Charity to Reap Bonanza From Billionaire's Art Sale

Billionaire businessman and art collector William Louis-Dreyfus is selling off thousands of works of modern and “outsider” art in order to donate the proceeds to the Harlem Children’s Zone, an education nonprofit, Barron’s writes.

The Paris-born former chairman of Louis Dreyfus Holding B.V. estimated the value of his trove, amassed over 50 years of collecting, at between $10 million and $50 million. Revenue from the piecemeal sale will go into a pool of capital from which the Harlem charity can draw to support its operations and long-term financial stability.

Mr. Louis-Dreyfus approached the Children’s Zone about the gift after seeing a 2011 “60 Minutes” profile of the organization. The Barron’s article looks at the challenges and mechanics of structuring a major art bequest that aims not to preserve a collection and a collector’s legacy—along the lines of typical museum gifts—but to maximize the monetary value of a trove to advance a cause.