8 & 9 November 2023 | New York

Emily Fisher Landau in front of Fernand Leger's Etude pour Les Constructeurs (Study for Les Constructeurs), 1951. © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris CHESTER HIGGINS JR./CHESTER HIGGINS JR./The New York Times/Redux

Over the course of the last century, a small number of individuals have played a vital role in shaping the unfolding story of 20th-century art. Emily Fisher Landau was a key member of this group: her deep and longstanding involvement with leading institutions, in particular the Whitney Museum of American Art; her profound engagement with the art and artists of her time; and her unerring instinct as a collector at the highest level, all combining in one of the greatest collectors and patrons of ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The result of decades of inquiry and curiosity, the Emily Fisher Landau Collection is synonymous with connoisseurship and quality, and also speaks to Mrs. Fisher Landau’s voracious and instinctive approach to collecting. From Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Fernand Léger, through to Ed Ruscha and Jasper Johns, alongside Mark Tansey and Glenn Ligon, the Collection traces the greatest achievements of 20th-century art, in each case through key masterpiece examples.

"If a person is a true collector, nothing will stand in their way to get what they want."
–Emily Fisher Landau

The Collection not only tells the story of 20th-century art, but also tells the story of Emily Fisher Landau herself. Mrs. Fisher Landau’s collecting journey began in the late 1960s with the purchase of a striking Alexander Calder mobile and with a chance encounter with a poster advertising a forthcoming Josef Albers show at Pace Gallery, from which three major acquisitions followed. Mrs. Fisher Landau began to put together a major ensemble of works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Jean Arp, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Paul Klee and Louise Nevelson among others. All were complemented, in later years, by the work of artists she came to know and patronize directly, many of whom she collected in depth. Few collectors have been as committed to building relationships with artists as she: from post-war titans such as Ed Ruscha and Jasper Johns to artists at the vanguard in the 21st century, such as Glenn Ligon and Mark Tansey, Emily Fisher Landau’s steadfast support as a patron and friend helped forge a transformative new path for each one.

PABLO PICASSO, Femme à la montre

Mrs. Fisher Landau’s adventurous spirit and total commitment to the art and artists of her time aligned seamlessly with the ethos of the increasingly influential Whitney Museum, a fierce champion of cutting-edge American artists, whose work it showcased in its striking Breuer building on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Beginning in the mid-1980s, and over the course of the next four decades, Mrs. Fisher Landau was deeply involved with the Whitney in so many ways: a member of the acquisition committees, she also endowed the Museum’s famous Whitney Biennial exhibitions and in 2010 made a landmark donation of nearly 400 works, which was subsequently exhibited under the title “Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection”. The fourth floor of the Breuer building remains named in her honor.

Left: Emily Fisher Landau and Ed Ruscha at his studio in Venice Beach, CA in 1985. Image courtesy Emily Fisher Landau Center for Arts
Right: Emily Fisher Landau and Jasper Johns at the Whitney Museum for her 90th birthday celebration in 2010. Photo: Nick Hunt/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Sotheby’s is honored to present the Emily Fisher Landau Collection to be sold across dedicated evening and day sales in New York this November, marking a historic auction event.

Upcoming Auctions


Exhibition Information

Exhibition Information

Highlights from The Emily Fisher Landau Collection: An Era Defined will be on view at:

New York | 13–15 September
Dubai | 25–26 September
Hong Kong | 2–8 October
London | 7–11 October
Paris | 14–19 October
Taipei | 17–18 October
Los Angeles | 19–22 October

Please click here for more information on the Traveling Exhibitions.

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