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Post-World War II Art...David Geffen Art Collection

During the period leading up to and during World War II, modernist artists, art critics, and art historians, as well as important art collectors and art dealers, fled Europe for a safe haven in the United States. In New York, Abstract expressionism arose during World War II and began to be showcased during the early forties at galleries such as The Art of This Century Gallery.


Greatly interested in arts, Geffen accumulated some of the best American mid-century and contemporary artworks, currently estimated at $2.3 billion. Making David Geffen's collection is the best representation of postwar American art.



Post-World War II Art

After world war II, In 1946, the New Yorker American weekly magazine's art critic Robert Myron Coates (April 6, 1897 – February 8, 1973) coined the term “abstract expressionism” in reference to the works of Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and others.


The term "Abstract expressionism" was used by Coates to describe the post-World War II art movement developed in New York City in the 1940s. Abstract Expressionism was the first specifically American movement to resonate internationally and put New York at the center of the avant-garde Western art movement, a role formerly filled by Paris. Abstract expressionism, like its predecessor surrealism, emphasized spontaneous, automatic, or subconscious creations.


The movement's name is derived from the combination of the emotional intensity of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools. Abstract Expressionism has an image of being rebellious, anarchic, emotional, and nihilistic, spontaneity characterized many of the abstract expressionists' works.



In the 1940s, The Art of This Century, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Julien Levy Gallery, and a few other galleries were willing to follow the work of the New York Vanguard.


During the late 1940s, abstract expressionism spread quickly throughout the United States, but, the epicenters of Abstract Expressionism were New York City and the San Francisco Bay area of California.


Abstract expressionists' paintings share certain characteristics including working on large canvases and the importance of the edges as well as the center of the canvas.


Abstract Expressionism represented the transformation of painting into an existential drama, The piece of art was not meant to express a picture but to record a painting event, the canvas was "an arena to act". The finished painting is only the physical residue of the actual rituals of art which were in the process of the painting's creation.


In general, Abstract expressionism expanded and liberated the artists' procedures of creating art and represented the total nihilistic liberation from value.



abstract painting, No. 5, 1948, By Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock.
No. 5, 1948, By Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock.

The Art Collection Of David Geffen


The art world, and especially art collecting, has always been a combative and turbulent field where personal networks, instincts, and wealth play a crucial role.


Among the best art collections currently owned by a single owner is that of David Geffen, an American entertainment tycoon and art collector.

David Geffen's life is a typical American dream story. Born in 1943 to Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn.

David is the founder of Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and DGC Records labels and film studio Dream Works. His estimated worth is around $7.7 billion.


Greatly interested in arts, Geffen accumulated some of the best American mid-century and contemporary artworks, currently estimated at $2.3 billion. Making David Geffen's collection is the best representation of postwar American art.


Although David Geffen's collection is estimated at several billion dollars today, Geffen invested significantly less. Actually, David Geffen started collecting in the 1980s and 1990s when the prices of these pieces were much lower. Inspiring new collectors to start small, and look for emerging talents whose value can increase in the future.


the David Geffen art collection is mainly comprised of pieces by the leading artists of abstract expressionists and pop artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, David Hockney, and Robert Rauschenberg.


Although David owns some of the most valuable works of mid-century American art, Geffen rarely lends his collection or individual pieces to art institutions. Therefore, the scale and exact content of his collection is not entirely known.


The unique Art collection's estimated worth is about a third of Geffen's personal net worth, even though Geffen had sold some of its most valuable pieces.


In 2016, David Geffen sold a de Kooning and a Pollock he owned to fellow Top collector Kenneth C. Griffin for half a billion dollars.


Only a month later, the New York Times reported that Geffen sold Jackson Pollock’s painting No. 5, 1948 (1948) for $140 million to Mexican financier Top collector David Martinez.


Geffen is also engaged in patronage and has used his wealth to support various art organizations, including a $150 million pledge to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2017, the largest single gift in the museum's history. He also donated $100 million to Lincoln Center in 2015 and $100 million to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2016.


David Geffen is known as a very private art collector. He rarely almost never let others borrow his acquisitions, even the art museums and galleries David supports and donates to.


Geffen's collection is estimated to number around 50 pieces. David Geffen decided to invest only in a few valuable artworks instead of building an extensive collection. David Geffen's impeccable eye and taste for art are David Geffen's main assets in the art trade.


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