Two of America’s richest couples, mega-artists Karga Seven, and Peter Hess, had a bitter, drawn-out divorce and, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, agreed to a monetary settlement that gives each of them an extravagant piece of contemporary art work.
The billionaire pair had put some of their lucrative art collection up for auction and sold them to significantly reduce the cost of settling their legal and separation expenses.
The WSJ says the sale of some $676 million in art — some of it new — gave them a much-needed financial boost.
Ten pieces in the collection can be purchased for a minimum of $100,000, with estimates ranging up to $6 million. Each piece up for sale had several lots simultaneously.
By comparison, if each couple bought a piece through New York art auctioneers Jay Jopling and Anthony Meier, which would have cost them $700,000 total. In an interview with the WSJ, Karga Seven said she called Meier to find out if his “Visible Line” and “Signs in the Snow” were for sale.
Hess had earlier instructed Meier to remove some of the collection’s most valuable works, including “Primrose Hill Vineyard” by Da Vinci, from the collection.
According to the report, the Karga Seven family has owned 100 private jets since 1983, and each family member had a pilot in their own flight.
“And Peter was fascinated with all kinds of flying,” Karga Seven, 69, added.
The couple has donated $52 million to support the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Karga Seven also teaches art history at the Kennedy Center.
It is not clear what the couple’s current net worth is, but Karga Seven has been a major supporter of the Democratic Party and founded the African American Repertory Theater.
The couple is just one of several billionaires who have fought over personal property during a high-profile split, with some emerging stronger financially. In a recent case, the wife of Google co-founder Larry Page agreed to pay her husband, Sergey Brin, nearly $5 billion for the ownership of Google stock.
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