Sotheby’s to Buy the Whitney Museum’s Breuer Building

Sotheby's Reached a Deal With the Whitney Museum to Buy Its Modern Breuer Building For Approximately $100 Million.

Jun 2, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York. The Breuer building, Via Wikipedia


Sotheby’s made a deal with the Withney Museum to buy Breuer Building for around $100 million. The building hosted New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art for almost fifty decades. Also, the auction house will relocate all NYC galleries to this modernist space, announced on Thursday.


The End of One Era, and the Beginning of Another

Bridge entrance to the building, from Madison Avenue. Via Wikipedia


This agreement between two major institutions in the art world marks a major change. Although the price is not certain, people who worked on the deal and are close to the institutions said it is the previously mentioned price. Although the Whitney Museum ended its era in this institution, a new one is certainly beginning. The agreement came in place, but Sotheby’s will not set up its galleries until next year.


But, once they do, the auction house will open it for the public. “We are honored to acquire and write the next chapter of such an iconic and well-known New York architectural landmark”, Sotheby’s Chief Executive Officer Charles F. Stewart said in a statement. The brand-new flagship will feature cutting-edge gallery and exhibition space as well as a completely revamped auction chamber.


The Breuer
Gallery view highlighting movable partitions, the ceiling grid, and window alcove. Via Wikipedia


Also, Sotheby’s will hire an architect to “sensitively review the internal spaces and maintain key elements, such as the building’s striking lobby”, the company said in a press release. Also, the auction house said the building has a rich history, since it housed the Whitney, the Metropolitan and Frick collections.

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The Breuer to Distinguish Sotheby’s From Others

Imposing view from street level. Via Wikipedia


Locating the galleries in the Breuer Building allows Sotheby’s to differentiate itself from other auction houses and institutions in the art world. It also enables innovation and modernization for clients. Whitney’s director Adam Weinberg also made a statement about the deal.


“I am pleased the Breuer Building will continue to serve an artistic and cultural purpose through the display of artworks and artifacts. Most importantly, this architectural masterpiece—thanks to its status in a landmark district—will remain preserved”, he said in a statement.


Architectural plan for the exterior, 1963. Via Wikipedia


Modernist master Marcel Breuer designed the building and completed it in 1966. The landmark had been the Whitney’s home until its move to the Meatpacking District in 2015. Since then, it’s been occupied by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, currently, by the Frick Collection, which has a lease that runs until August 2024.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.