Attorneys have said many works have been amassed over nearly 60 years in one of the art world’s largest court sales
For almost 60 years, Utah billionaire philanthropist and art collector Gordon M Henderson and his wife, Shannon, have amassed a gigantic collection of modern and contemporary art that can be found in museums across the US.
Now the couple, who have been separated since 2013, are splitting up the massive collection. At a court hearing on Friday, their financial adviser handed a check for $76m to Shannon Henderson, according to court documents. In addition, Gordon Henderson and his attorney have filed for $618m in court judgments against Shannon Henderson, and their joint practice moved to Dayton, Ohio.
The couple, who never married, reached a multi-million dollar divorce settlement on Friday. According to court documents, Gordon Henderson paid nearly $605m to Shannon Henderson by Friday afternoon to cover the couple’s “undue economic gain” from their assets.
The court documents did not list any works of art by the couple’s collection that were sold on Friday.
The pair legally separated in 2013, but court documents filed this year revealed they had a bitter and increasingly frequent fight over the value of their assets. The couple did not have a prenuptial agreement.
By the end of Friday, the balance of Gordon Henderson’s judgment check had increased to $600m, according to a statement from attorney David Falk.
Billionaire art collectors Gordon and Shannon Henderson finalize their divorce deal in Utah court
Gordon Henderson, who recently turned 86, is a founding partner in the global business consulting firm Paloma Partners, which he founded in 1973 with his brother. He has donated millions of dollars to the Mormon church and earned two presidential appointments to the National Endowment for the Arts.
He launched a museum in Park City, Utah, to display modern and contemporary art along with an education center. Shannon Henderson, 65, was an elementary school art teacher before she worked for the estate of Ralph Ellison, and she opened art galleries in high-end cities.
She was one of a group of buyers, along with Mel Fisher, the owner of the classic racing boat America’s Cup, that bought $28m of modern art for the New York museum MoMA. The museum acknowledged it purchased art for the U2 singer Bono, Bill Gates and the author and activist Marianne Williamson.
When news of the divorce first broke in Utah, the Henderson family art dealer told Forbes the collection was worth $672m and most of the art was stored in the couple’s estate in Utah.
In a statement, Gordon Henderson’s attorney told Forbes that the pair sold art by artists such as Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Kazimir Malevich, Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Takashi Murakami and Tracey Emin.
Art price tags of the works sold on Friday in Utah this week. Photograph: via Getty Images
Court documents released in May this year showed that Shannon Henderson moved in with her mother after the split and will get to keep the couple’s $15m home in Park City. She will also keep another home in California, their 12-room European-style home in New York and a private jet.
Some of the art that the couple amassed over decades had reportedly seen value soar during Gordon Henderson’s time at the helm of Paloma Partners. In 2012, a Craigie Stewart Hamilton painting attributed to Emin fetched $42.4m, which was the most ever paid for a British work of art at auction, according to Forbes.
The money is much less than Gordon Henderson could have been worth if he had built on his position as a founder of Paloma Partners. Forbes estimates that each of Gordon Henderson’s siblings made between $300m and $500m when he sold the company to Paloma Capital Partners in 2007.