The Impeccable Collection of Fashion Magnate Santiago Barberi Gonzalez

Launch Slideshow

As the force behind luxury accessories brand Nancy Gonzalez and as a collector of contemporary art, Santiago Barberi Gonzalez devoted his life to the creation and cultivation of beautiful objects. In his apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Gonzalez assembled an impeccable range of contemporary artworks that mirrored his intensely creative life. His collection comprises Conceptual, cerebral works by On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, Jenny Holzer and Roni Horn alongside playful furniture by the Campana Brothers and whimsical sculptures by Claude Lalanne. Sotheby’s is honoured to present this deeply personal legacy. Click ahead for highlights from an extraordinary collection.

Contemporary Curated
27 September| New York

The Impeccable Collection of Fashion Magnate Santiago Barberi Gonzalez

  • Joseph Kosuth, neither appearance nor illusion, 2008. 
Estimate $40,000–60,000; Fernando and Humberto Campana, Boa Sofa. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    neither appearance nor illusion , a phrase drawn from the celebrated words of philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, is an exceptional example of how Joseph Kosuth, a pioneer of the Conceptual art movement, often appropriates the texts and quotations of others for his works. Kosuth’s practice explores the production and role of language and meaning within art.


    The glowing yellow neon is set above a stunningly iridescent, entangled Boa Sofa designed by Brazil’s foremost contemporary design duo – Humberto and Fernando Campana, who are known for their rich textures, vibrant colour and focus on transformation and reinvention of materials and form.


  • Ugo Rondinone, The Adored, 2013. Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    "The stone figure is the archetypal representation of the human form, and I show it in the most elemental and archaic way using the most ancient material stone – and name the figures after our fundamental state of being: feelings." — Ugo Rondinone

  • Installation view of works by Louise Lawler at Santiago Barberi Gonzalez's Fifth Avenue home.
    Pictures Generation artist Louise Lawler is well-known for her photographs of artwork and the varied contexts in which it is viewed. Encompassing the ways setting and space inform meaning, her images document paintings in museums, art displayed decoratively within collectors' homes, sculpture as it's viewed in a gallery,  as well as installation and storage processes. Gonzalez had a distinct interest in Lawler’s practice and collected her work in depth, as represented by the 10 lots of her work included in the auction.

  • Ai Weiwei, Fairytale Chairs, 2007. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Initially installed in Kassel, Germany for Documenta XII (2007), Ai Weiwei’s Fairytale Project featured a set of 1,001 Ming and Qing dynasty chairs, one for each of the 1,001 Chinese travellers that the artist brought with him to Germany. A representation of cultural and geographical displacement as well as changing Chinese identity, the work proved particularly provocative to the Chinese government. After Ai's detainment by the Chinese government, the chairs became a symbol of protest as artists and activists around the world voiced their opposition by bringing chairs to Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide for sit-ins.

  • Installation view of several highlights in Santiago Barberi Gonzalez's New York apartment.
  • Wolfgang Tillmans's Iguazu with an array of small-scale works by Claude Lalanne and other artists.
  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Iguazu, 2010. Estimate $70,000–90,000.
    The photographic practice of German-born artist Wolfgang Tillmans encompasses a broad spectrum of genres – from portraiture and landscape to still life and abstraction. In 2000, Tillmans became the first photographer as well as non-British artist to win the Turner Prize and his multifaceted practice was recently celebrated in a seminal exhibition at Tate Modern, London from February – June 2017.

  • Lawrence Weiner, A LID ON IT, 2007. Estimate $70,000–90,000.
    As one of the key artists of the Conceptual art movement of the 1960s, Lawrence Weiner famously created a "statement of intent," that guides much of his work: 1. The artist may construct the piece; 2. The piece may be fabricated; 3. The piece need not be built. Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.

  • On Kawara, June 10, 2004, from Today series (1966-2013), 2004. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    Stemming from a profound feelings of loss and alienation experienced as a child during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, On Kawara commits his artistic oeuvre to the passage of time in his seminal Today series. The Today series, in which Kawara paints the date of the painting’s execution on the canvas, invites the viewer to explore and question one’s own understanding of time. This body of work functions as an empirical record of the collective human experience. Rendered in a sans-serif font and centered on a stark, rectangular surface, Kawara’s Date Paintings package and reduce time so that the only variable in a regimented creation process is the language of the text, which is chosen based on the convention of the place where the painting was made.

  • Ed Ruscha, Topic, 2012. Estimate $100,000–150,000.
    "I am not a big fan of meaning. Logic is also another nebulous thought. I attempt to bring threads of subjects, however shaggy, to my work and inject little suggesters to the picture itself, and this often puts a smile on my face." — Ed Ruscha

  • Antony Gormley, Butt, 2010. Estimate $300,000–400,000.
    Antony Gormley’s Butt is an early example of his Extended Blocker, a series of sculptures that expand the block volumes on multiple axes outwards into the constructed world. With these works, Gormley aims to use formal means to extend emotions, by increasing viewers sensitivity to their own forms and space. “I am interested in the body because it is the place where emotions are most directly registered," the artist has said. "When you feel frightened, when you feel excited, happy, depressed, somehow the body registers it.”

  • John McCracken, Black Pyramid, 1975. Estimate $120,000–180,000.
    Black Pyramid is striking in its seamless perfection, its slightly rounded edges and vertices create the effect of endlessness, and its polished, onyx black resin gives the illusion of unlimited depth. McCracken’s artistry is based almost entirely on these notions of light and form. He painstakingly crafted objects and mixed pigments himself, in contrast to many other well-known Minimalists. Known for his iconic planks and cubic structures, the pyramidal form is particularly rare to McCracken’s oeuvre. 

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