Billionaire William Louis-Dreyfus to Gift Art Collection to Harlem Nonprofit

  • March 04, 2015 20:05

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Julia and William Louis-Dreyfus on the "TODAY" show in 2014.

Some fifty years of collecting 3,500 artworks will culminate in a grand gift to a Harlem school. Paris-born billionaire William Louis-Dreyfus, 82, says his collection will be sold periodically to benefit school children. His bequest includes works by about 170 artists, from big names like Alberto Giacometti, Helen Frankenthaler, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jean Dubuffet, to outsider artists such as Bill Traylor and many lesser-knowns.

The collection is valued at between $10 million and $50 million, Louis-Dreyfus estimates.


Sale proceeds will go to the Harlem Children's Zone which aims to prevent generational poverty through "cradle to college" education and support. Louis-Dreyfus learned about the innovative nonprofit from a 60 Minutes episode.

Many major benefactors choose existing museums, or build their own, to showcase and gift their collections. Louis-Dreyfus, wants to sell his art to fund a worthy cause.

“I realized one morning that my children do not need to be any richer than they are, and they did not need the spoils from my collection,” he told Barron's. Instead, “I could do something good, and that I believe in.”

Daughter Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress, narrated a 2014 documentary about his collection called "Generosity of Eye."

Read more at Barron's

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