Roland NY sells items seized from convicted art dealer Ezra Chowaiki to benefit victims Feb. 20

GLEN COVE, N.Y. — The opening lots in the Modern, Post-War & Contemporary Auction at Roland NY on Tuesday, February 20 come from the ‘collection’ of notorious art dealer Ezra Chowaiki. He was convicted of wire fraud in 2018 and served 18 months in prison for an investment scam in which he sold stakes in art he didn’t actually own.

Chowaiki’s Park Avenue gallery was later declared bankrupt, with these 50 lots being sold on behalf of liquidators.

While unlikely to generate sufficient funds to pay back the millions Chowaiki’s took from his victims, they include glimpses of a former life as an influential New York dealer in the modern and contemporary sphere. He was described at the time as ‘the ultimate art world insider.’

Three stacked ‘ceramic forest’ sculptures by the Spanish artist Jaime Hayon (b. 1974-) that carry estimates of $7,500-$10,000 each were previously featured at the Miami Art Basel fair in 2003. One, in blue and white enamels, stands 6ft 8in high, while the other, a pair in yellow and black, is 5ft 4in.

A colorful book-covered painted fiberglass cow sculpture by the British artist (and granddaughter of Winston Churchill) Edwina Sandys (b. 1938-) is estimated at $6,000-$8,000. It was one of many created for Cow Parade 2000, the second of the public art events held that year in New York City.

A vintage Sunday B. Morning screenprint of Andy Warhol’s Cream of Mushroom Soup Can, signed to the verso and numbered 33/250, has an estimate $1,500-$2,500, while a Robert Lazzarini resin, bone, and pigment sculpture of an amorphic skull, reminiscent of that in Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors, is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Art from other estates includes one of the tapestries created late in his career by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and woven in Guatemala. Modern Tapestry, number 96 from an edition of 100 and signed and dated in the weave 1975, is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.