Hammer's "Helga" Nude Is Up for Auction

Andrew Wyeth, Day Dream, 1980. Paul Allen collection
Another painting formerly owned by Armand Hammer and then his Westwood museum has come up for auction. It's Andrew Wyeth's Day Dream, a tempera painting of neighbor Helga Testorf that is to be sold as part of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's collection on Nov. 9, 2022. Christie's estimates the price at $2 to $3 million.

As the one contemporary painting Armand Hammer owned, it was often held to be symptomatic of a seriously unfocused collection. It presumably worked better among Allen's more consistent holdings.

The Wyeth is one of the 92 paintings the UCLA-run museum returned to the Armand Hammer Foundation in 2007, as part of a deal to release the museum from Armand Hammer's restrictive conditions on display of his art. Former Getty director John Walsh, who helped broker the deal, explained that the Hammer "won't be burdened by having to show a lot of substandard paintings."

Some of the returned paintings were not so bad and have since gone for a lot of money. In 2010 an ex-Hammer Cha├»m Soutine sold for £7.88 million.

UPDATE (Nov. 9, 2022): The Wyeth Day Dream sold for $23,290,000, more than ten times the low estimate.