Going…going…gone! Alex Rodriguez, better known to some as A-Rod, is used to hearing those words. The retired professional baseball player is still ranked fourth for record number of career home runs with a whopping 696. On June 27th, though, Rodriguez will be listening out for that phrase in relation to two paintings he’s selling from his personal collection leaving everyone asking the question: will the sale be a home run?
The answer? Probably so, because Rodriguez is selling Mustang Painting (2013-2016) by Richard Prince and Pink Elephant with Fire Engine (1984) by Jean-Michel Basquiat, both of which have been displayed in his Florida home. The two paintings will be featured in Phillips Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art in London and each carries a hefty pre-sale estimate. Mustang Painting, which depicts a Ford Mustang against a vibrant, blue-washed background, is expected to sell for £700,000 to £1 million. Meanwhile, Basquiat’s bright yellow work that features an abstracted elephant and firetruck highlighted in pink is anticipated to garner between £3 million and £4 million. The sale will be led by a work by Roy Lichtenstein from another seller called The Conductor (1975) set to go for £4 million to £6 million.
‘A number of gallerists and advisors pointed me in the right direction…I have been in conversation with several artists, whose studio practice seem close to my own as an athlete’
Perhaps not the first person you would have pegged to be a collector, Rodriguez has been collecting art on his own for a decade now. ‘A number of gallerists and advisors pointed me in the right direction,’ said Rodriguez in a statement, ‘and I have been in conversation with several artists, whose studio practice seem close to my own as an athlete.’ Rodriguez plans to funnel the proceeds of the paintings into a new collection he and his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez will curate together.
‘I am starting a fresh chapter in my personal life, and after a decade of collecting on my own, I am excited to begin a new collecting journey with Jennifer,’ said Rodriguez in Q&A session with Phillips’ worldwide co-head of 20th century and contemporary art Robert Manley in the sale catalogue. ‘We are both committed to the arts, and will continue to be great patrons together.’ When asked about the art that he is drawn to, Rodriguez said: ‘I like works that tell a story, often related to my own personal experiences. Basquiat is one of my favorite artists of all time; each painting he created reads as a diary of his day.’ The famous couple was spotted together at Art Basel Miami in December, so they may already have their eyes on some new works to kickstart their joint collection.
A-Rod isn’t the only ex-professional athlete making headlines in the artworld, either. A few months ago, retired NFL player Keith Rivers announced he’d be spending the summer abroad to immerse himself in art to get a better understanding of the history of art.