Sotheby's Offers Cohen Collection

NEW YORK, NY.- On March 2, 2017, Sotheby’s will offer a single-owner sale dedicated to the collection of Ed Cohen and Victoria Shaw. Titled, In Its Own Light, the auction is largely focused on Post-War and Contemporary Art, including examples of German Expressionism and Modern British art.

The New York couple’s collection was created over 35 years and reflects the close relationships (often grounded in a shared passion for literature), between Ed Cohen and many of the artists represented, as well as with gallerists such as Anthony d’Offay and Marian Goodman.

The sale is estimated to fetch $4-6 million and will be immediately followed by the Contemporary Curated auction. Both sales are timed to coincide with The Armory Show, with exhibitions opening on 24 February.

Allan Schwartzman, Chairman, Sotheby's Fine Arts Division commented: “The Cohen Collection defines collecting at its best, as it includes the highest level of selectivity and connoisseurship, a very personal and finely honed assembly of artists spanning many generations, and an articulate and unwavering commitment to the most timeless of subjects for art—the human condition. Whether with artists collected in depth, or represented by a single work, the Cohens have consistently collected works that get to the heart of each artist represented, not always in the most obvious way, but always in the most insightful.”

Ed Cohen is also known as a generous supporter of a number of museums, most notably the Tate where a gallery is named for Mr. Cohen. Among notable gifts to the London institution was his crucial support for the acquisition of the groundbreaking Joseph Beuys sculpture, The End of the Twentieth Century.


Highlights include pieces by Joseph Beuys, John Currin, Cecily Brown, Brice Marden, Anselm Kiefer, Agnes Martin, William Kentridge and Gerhard Richter.

Richter was collected in particular depth with a range of works – from a smaller-scale example of the artist’s signature abstraction, to examples from the important, but less well-known Souvenir and Painted Photograph series.

Further highlights include Croatian artist, Mangelos, whose work has never appeared at auction despite being collected in depth by the Museum Of Modern Art, New York, and Albert York, a reclusive but deeply admired painter of Long Island’s East End.

Prominent Businessman and Artist

Ed Cohen was an associate at Davis Polk, a New York law firm, for two years and became General Counsel at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) at the age of 26.

He served as President and CEO of the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC) from 1975 to 1977 (at age 33 to 35) during the time of the New York City fiscal crisis and helped UDC survive.

In 1977, he became a partner at McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. In 1980 he established General Atlantic Partners (GAP), a venture capital firm, for Charles Feeney (the founder of Atlantic Philanthropies). He served as Managing Partner from 1980 to 1992, and from 1992 to 1995 he served as Chairman.

Cohen also served as President and Chairman of Manhattan Theatre Club between 1980 and 1992, co-Chairman of The MacDowell Colony from 1987 to 1992, Chairman of City Year, the largest Americorps program which President Clinton used as the model for Americorps from 1993 to 1995.

With his partners from GAP, Cohen founded The Echoing Green Foundation in late 1987. This foundation made key initial grants to City Year, Teach for America, Share Our Strength and provided over 300 fellowships to young people to start their own not-for-profit organizations to solve a social problem.

Cohen was a founding board member of New Leaders for New Schools which now trains 100 principals a year in New York City, Chicago and five other cities.

He created Four Times Foundation which for seven years provided economic development grants to Native Americans on reservations. He also initiated Dartmouth Medical School’s efforts to promote the effective functioning of the medical school in Pristina, Kosovo after the war in Kosovo.

Cohen is currently President of Carlin Ventures, Inc. in New York City.

Cohen is a long time lover and collector of art. He has served on the International Council of the Tate and has been a significant supporter of the Serpentine Gallery in London. He has been painting since 1990 and has had several shows of his work.

Photo above: Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (843-4), 1997. Estimate $600/800,000. Photo: Sotheby's