In all, 48 pieces were offered at an auction just blocks from Howrey’s old office here in the nation’s capital. The sale was expected to bring in between $58,000 and $100,000 for the estate.
About 20 people gathered this morning on the second floor of Weschler's auction house on E Street N.W. in downtown Washington to bid on pieces that included works from the Washington Color School movement. Others placed their bids via telephone or the internet.
Among the pieces for sale were works by Gene Davis and Sam Gilliam. Vertical lines with bright colors make up Davis’ pieces. Gilliam's abstract work features colorful shapes layered on one another.
Allan Diamond, managing partner of Diamond McCarthy and trustee of the Howrey estate, said the artwork was collateral for Citi Bank, which was the firm's major security lender. The money earned from the artwork's sale, then, would go to Citi Bank to repay Howrey's debt.
"Howrey had on its books art valued at about $1.2 million," Diamond said. "It was carried forward on its book up until Howrey's demise in 2011. Obviously, there is quite a spread between the value they were thinking their artwork was worth and what it is worth today."
Future Howrey art auctions are planned for San Francisco and Chicago. Howrey's office furnishings were auctioned off in August 2011. In February, Weschler's auctioned off 91 pieces of art from Dewey & LeBoeuf's estate. The sale pulled in $528,120.
Photo by The National Law Journal's Diego M. Radzinschi.