The late Frank Lautenberg, five-term US Senator, self-made millionaire, WW2 veteran and son of immigrants, showed his heart in his art.
And much of his estimable art collection of postwar and contemporary art, mostly American, will be auctioned by Christie’s this fall and next year. It’s a kind of visual biography, clearly illustrating Lautenberg’s values.
American flags, landscapes, former presidents and even Campbell soup are alluded to in the art works, which include photographs. Lautenberg began collecting in 1982, after moving to Washington, DC to serve in the US Senate. Though many of his achievements were well known, or certainly remembered after his death last June at 89, the concept of Lautenberg as art collector was less familiar.
That’s no longer true. The projected auctions have called attention to this major facet of the man. The list of artists whose works are included in his collection reads like an honor roll of American art: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Ruscha, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol – as well as photographs by Robert Frank, Alfred Stieglitz and Walker Evans.