The name William S. Paley (1901-1990) will be forever intertwined with that of two of the great institutions born in the 20th century: Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc (CBS), which he transformed from a small radio network in the 1920s to a giant of American broadcasting, and MoMA – the first museum dedicated to Modern Art (founded in 1929) which he championed for half a century.
At the time Paley began collecting, an appreciation for modern art was a relatively rare, radical and forward-thinking thing. In the 1930s, few collectors had the courage and vision to collect the canvases of artists such as Picasso, Renoir and Matisse.
This fall, 21 works acquired by William S. Paley over the course of his 40-year collecting career will come to auction for the first time in at least half a century. Consigned by the William S. Paley Foundation, their sale will support a number of charitable organizations close to William S. Paley’s heart, including a new endowment at The Museum of Modern Art, established by the Paley Foundation to support MoMA’s ambitious goals in digital media and technology and to provide for new acquisitions, the Greenpark Foundation (which owns and operates Paley Park) and the Paley Museum.
The works of the William S. Paley Collection will be offered at Sotheby’s New York in the Modern Evening and Day Sales on 14 and 15 November respectively , as well as the Contemporary Evening and Day Sales on 16 and 17 November respectively.