Paintings from Andy Williams' collection could fetch over $30 million

NEW YORK Fri Feb 8, 2013 5:17pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Paintings from the private collection of U.S. singer Andy Williams, amassed over six decades, could fetch more than $30 million when they are sold at auction in May, Christie's said on Friday.

Works by Willem de Kooning and Richard Diebenkorn are expected to be the top sellers of the portion of the collection that will be auctioned at Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on May 15-16.

De Kooning's 1984 "Untitled XVII" and Diebenkorn's 1976 "Ocean Park #92" are expected to sell for about $5 million each.

"Williams' highly personal choices in Post War and Contemporary artworks reflect the dynamic energy of New York and Los Angeles in the 50s and 60s," Robert Manley, an international director at Christie's, said in a statement.

Christie's described de Kooning's "Untitled XVII" as a masterpiece of his final years of painting.

"The lyrical 1984 work demonstrates the artist's supreme confidence at the height of his fame, after six decades of painting," the auction house said.

Williams, best known for his rendition of the song "Moon River," died in September at the age of 84. The paintings in the collection are from his two homes and his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri.

Williams was first interested in Modern Art and had purchased works by Picasso, Paul Klee and Henry Moore before turning to the other painters.

Picasso's 1927 painting "Figure Feminine Sur la Plage," from Williams' collection, will be up for sale during Christie's Impressionist & Modern Art sale in New York on May 8-9.

"He had the exceptional ability to recognize quality in every category that he turned his attention to - a rare gift among collectors," Manley said about Williams.

The remainder of the collection will be sold this year in sales in New York, London and Paris.

(Reporting by Noreen O'Donnell; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech)

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