Poor Annie Leibovitz, she’s had a rough past couple of years. Aside from the deaths of both her parents and longtime partner Susan Sontag, she’s dealt with crotchety West Village neighbors and gotten plenty of guff about those Miley Cyrus pictures. And while the sales at last week’s Art Basel Miami have everyone yelling that the recession’s over, here’s a grim reminder that it’s not all rainbows, Van Goghs, and butterflies for everyone just yet. According to the New York Times, Leibovitz is preparing to sell her photographs not only to get out of her mounting debt, but to retain the rights to her homes and work.
To mitigate the $30 million she owes to Art Capital Group, Leibovitz is selling ten sets of 157 photographs for $3.5 million each. James Danziger, a gallery owner who represented Leibovitz in the nineties, showed them at Art Basel Miami, and the Times reports that three have already been purchased (thanks to whoever peeked at my X-mas list). As expected, the sets include photographs of celebrities like Cindy Crawford, but there are also images of Leibovitz’s children included in the series.
Leibovitz’s money problems all started when she borrowed $24 million from Art Capital Group with her homes and the rights to her photographs held as collateral. When she failed to pay back the money by September 2008, the group sued her claiming “boldly deceptive conduct” on Leibovitz’s part. Two months later, the suit was settled and her debt restructured, only this time she agreed to pay another fee to win back the rights to her work and homes, bringing her debt to a whopping $30 million.
Geez, just when I was feeling sorry for myself for having to sell some old vintage shoes on eBay to scrape up some semblance of a Christmas budget (is anyone out there a lady’s size 6?). Here’s hoping that everyone really is buying art again so her work will be safe in the hands of wealthy art collectors instead of, um, wealthy money lenders. Oh well (but really, anyone? Size 6? Anyone??).