Record Executive's Art Collection to Be Auctioned at Sotheby's in May

Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Record Executive's Art Collection to Be Auctioned at Sotheby's in May

Mo Ostin, the legendary record executive, was best remembered by Neil Young for “supporting artists and their work, all the way through his long life, Mo, the giant among Record Business leaders, backed us all up and let us do what we wanted with our music.” In a rare interview, Ostin echoed this sentiment, explaining that “the artist is the person who should be in the foreground.”

Mo Ostin, the legendary record executive, was best remembered by Neil Young for “supporting artists and their work, all the way through his long life, Mo, the giant among Record Business leaders, backed us all up and let us do what we wanted with our music.” In a rare interview, Ostin echoed this sentiment, explaining that “the artist is the person who should be in the foreground.”

Ostin’s unerring ear for music, his instinctive ability to identify artistic talent and his transformative role in music industry have – despite his own famous modesty – been widely celebrated. Described as “one of the greatest record men of all time, and a prime architect of the modern music business,” Ostin presided over Warner Bros. Records for more than three decades and was a leader in the field for over half a century, instrumental in transforming a traditional industry with a staid mindset into an innovative business at the forefront of pop culture.

While Ostin’s impact on the music industry is well documented, his more private passion for the visual arts was equally strong. Art ran through Ostin’s personal life: often at the heart of his friendships and conversations, it also surrounded him at home. Over the course of decades, Ostin sought out magnificent artworks which, just like the music he nurtured, were all best in kind. This unwavering commitment to creative development was also reflected in Mo and Evelyn’s generous and abundant philanthropic efforts extending across the disciplines of music, education and athletics.

This May, Sotheby’s will offer The Mo Ostin Collection across both a dedicated evening sale and single-owner sequence in the Contemporary Day Auction, allowing for a rare glimpse of the extraordinary art collector behind the more familiar entertainment industry powerhouse. The dedicated evening sale will feature definitive masterworks by artists who, like the musicians Ostin worked with, pushed their practice into new territory, among them René Magritte, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cecily Brown. An additional group of inventive, boundary-pushing works by Joe Bradley, Jeff Elrod, Richard Estes, Mark Grotjahn, Brice Marden, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, and others, will be offered in a dedicated sequence in Sotheby’s Contemporary Day Auction.

Stephanie Cime

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

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