Jewish philanthropist sells art collection for $1 billion to pay off debt

Ron Perelman, 81, former owner of Revlon and well-known donor to Jewish institutions, was forced to sell unique pieces of art, including Picassos, to repay creditors after losing the cosmetics giant and incurring heavy debt 

Ron Perelman, 81, one of the most well-known Jewish businessmen in the United States, who got into financial trouble after purchasing the famous cosmetics company Revlon, which ran into great difficulties, sold works from his unique art collection, including works by Pablo Picasso for about $1 billion. The sale was necessary in ordewr to repay creditors, the Bloomberg news agency reported, based on recently unsealed court filings.
Perlman began selling works from his collection several years ago, but the identity of the works and the amounts he raised were not published; only following the submission of court documents were they now revealed. Between the years 2020 and 2022, Perelman, who was previously considered the richest person in the U.S. and whose fortune until 2018 was estimated at $18 billion, sold 71 works worth $963 million.
He owed some $910 million to creditors.
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רון פרלמן
רון פרלמן
Rob Perelman had to pay off heavy debt
(Photo: AP)
The 71 works included multiple pieces by Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Jasper Johns, Egon Schiele, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anish Kapoor, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon and Jackson Pollock.
Perelman purchased Revlon in 1985 for $1.74 billion. The coronavirus epidemic, which drastically affected the world economy, did not spare Revlon either, causing the cosmetics giant's shares to lose more than half of their value. Perelman used the many shares he held as his collateral with the banks. One of them, Deutsche Bank, which loaned Perelman money for his art collection as well, sued him in court.
Many of the items were auctioned through the famous auction house Sotheby's, while others were sold through private transactions. At least two pieces were purchased by Citadel investment firm founder Ken Griffin for about $40 million after he toured two apartments owned by Perelman in Manhattan and the Hamptons where his collection was on display.
Over the years, Perlman was considered a very generous donor to various Jewish projects. He donated $4.7 million to establish the Perelman Institute for Judaic Studies at Princeton University, and donated millions of dollars to Chabad.
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