Norman Lear’s Art Goes to Auction

Norman Lear was best known for what he created on television, but he also appreciated the kind of art you can hang on the wall and collected his fair share over the years.

Lear died in December at 101. On May 16, his wife, Lyn, is selling seven of the producer’s prime pieces of artwork at Christie’s with a total estimate of more than $50 million.

The artworks will be featured in the auction house’s evening sale of 20th-century art, with additional works offered in the postwar and contemporary art day sales and subsequent auctions.

“It will be like letting go of old friends and moving on to make new friends,” Lyn Davis Lear said in a telephone interview, adding, “Norman’s philosophy was buy what you love, don’t buy anything thinking you’re going to make a lot of money.”

Norman Lear — whose string of hits included “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times” and “Maude” — mostly collected works from the 1950s through the 1980s and was particularly drawn to artists who blossomed in California, as he did.

“This is where he really flowered and was able to express himself,” Davis Lear said. “There was freedom about being in L.A.”

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