Ellen DeGeneres’s on-air apology on Monday came after a summer of allegations about her show’s toxic workplace environment. It also seems to have come after a multimillion-dollar liquidation of her art collection. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that, through Sotheby’s private sales gallery and Van de Weghe Fine Art, DeGeneres is selling over $10 million worth of what she’s amassed, including an Alexander Calder sculpture, a François-Xavier Lalanne flock of sheep, and a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting and work on paper.
According to Bloomberg, some of the Lalanne sheep have already been purchased and were priced between $500,000 and $1 million. A representative for DeGeneres declined to comment to the outlet.
In BuzzFeed’s July investigation of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, one of the daytime show’s former employees said, “That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show.” The report was central to a few months of emerging allegations about the show’s workplace environment, including accusations of racism and sexual misconduct. DeGeneres’s monologue on Monday during the show’s season 18 premiere marked her first public comments on the stories. “As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation,” DeGeneres said. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened.”
As Bloomberg pointed out, DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, have collected and sold art for over a decade, and two years ago, de Rossi started a company for making and selling prints.
The coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the art market is still unfolding. The first comprehensive analysis by Art Basel and UBS found that gallery sales fell by an average of 36% in the first half of this year, according to the Financial Times. But at least one other high-profile collector is, like DeGeneres, navigating a period of tumult while trying to turn art into cash. Last month Bloomberg reported that billionaire investor and Revlon owner Ron Perelman, amid speculation about his future and declining fortune, had enlisted Sotheby’s to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art.
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