After the Chase, the Long Goodbye

Also included in the sales is a work by David Hammons; paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Delvaux and Victor Brauner; outdoor furniture by Scott Burton; and light fixtures by Greene & Greene and Tiffany Studios.

Ms. Stern met Mr. Stern at an art opening for the sculptor Serge Spitzer, who died in 2012. She asked the collector why he liked the artist’s “smudges on paper.” Mr. Stern responded, “You never get bored with them.” Mr. Spitzer subsequently went on to design the Sterns’ art barn, which is now for sale, along with their Hamptons home, which the family calls “Camp Jerome.”

Mr. Stern was a trustee at the New Museum and a patron of the Israel Museum. These are edited excerpts from the conversation with Ms. Stern, who earned her degree in art history and studied archaeology. She also did a stint at Seventeen Magazine when the artist Joseph Cornell worked in the mailroom.

What collecting tastes did you and your husband share?

Both our backgrounds were sculptural. Even in the photography, there is something sculptural about every piece.

What fueled your collecting as a couple?

We just had a lot of fun doing it. Jerome loved the chase, meeting the artists, getting to know the artists. Wangechi Mutu was married on our property in Westhampton. We helped support the artists. It’s nice knowing the artists and seeing how their careers develop.

Did you always agree on art purchases?

Everything was bought together. We would bicker a lot, I have to say, but we generally liked the same kind of art.

Why are you selling it?

Because of taxes.

And why Sotheby’s?

We also collected clam rakes, pulleys, hat molds. We wanted somebody who would be able to handle everything.

What is it like having your personal possessions appraised for their monetary value?

That’s the hard thing; you build a relationship with a piece, and then they tell you it’s not worth very much.

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