When it comes to art, as well as jewelry, the values of those two rare coins with “maiden names” that Cher and Sonny Bono once had go up in the ether. On May 5, the famously art-obsessed couple — who had some 750 paintings, sculptures, illustrations and pieces of art in their vast collection — got rid of their loot. They auctioned off just over 100 pieces that fetched a combined total of $650.8 million.
The collection, which included works by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gilbert Stuart, Pablo Picasso, William Wright, B.F. Skinner, Moet & Chandon, Claude Monet, Jean Renoir, Eugene Delacroix, Pablo Picasso, Renoir, Edouard Manet, Hans Kollmar, Marc Chagall, Arthur Dove, Alfred Stieglitz, Andrew Wyeth, George Catlin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Robert Motherwell, Thomas Eakins, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Grant Wood, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol, John Baldessari, et al.
Cher and Sonny bought the collection in 1971, in her beau’s then-former home at 3242 Flagstone Road, in Beverly Hills, for $100,000, the Los Angeles Times reported. The original Mendez agreement limited the collection to $500,000 and forced them to pay $4.50 a month upkeep.
But Cher owned every piece in the collection, including every Warhol canvas she owned; the soap she bought but never wore; every Beverley Hills Hotel chair she owned; and every one of her ill-fated Oscar dresses.
The couple, who separated in 1996, divvied up the collection roughly equally, dividing 2,825 works between them. Most of the works were from the 1970s, and many had never been shown before, according to a website set up by the Beverly Hills court for public viewing of the works. The lots that sold on May 5, called Collection 762, will go on view to the public later this month.