A collector's hidden art stash could be good for as much as $26 million. The collection, which had been owned by Ambroise Vollard, will be sold at Sotheby's sales in May and June. It's been hidden in a bank vault for four decades, and now people have shot at buying works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne and Andre Derain.
Derain's piece, shown above, is the top lot in the collection, a landscape that is estimated with a low end of $13.9 million and the potential to go over $20 million. It heads under the gavel on June 22, 2010 at Sotheby's in London. The following week, in Paris, 140 paintings, drawings, prints and books once belonging to Vollard will be sold, with a presale estimate staring at $3.4 million.
The 141 pieces in the collection were tossed in a Societe Generale vault in Paris by Vollard's associate, Eich Slomovic, in 1939. That's the year Vollard died car crash). Slomovich, who was given the collection to sell on consignment, died in 1942 (cause of death: NAZIs). The vault was opened in 1979 and was scheduled that year for auction. Legal challenges, however, kept the collection in limbo until 2006.