Maurice Amon recently filed for divorce against his wife, but before doing so, he made sure to hide their $25 million art collection, removing works by Basquiat and Warhol from the walls of their 5th Avenue residence — and tucking them away out of sight.
Some 66% of divorces filed in the United States these days are by couples who have no children. This often makes it easier for the split to happen, as less has to be deducted when assets are divided. But in Tracey Hejailan-Amon and Maurice Amon’s case, it appears that Maurice’s game of art hide-and-seek is making the split just as difficult.
In response to Mr. Amon’s removal of the art, Tracey filed a suit, saying that most of the works taken were collected jointly throughout their marriage.
But in October, while she was abroad, Mr. Amon’s art consultants removed the collection, stashing them in a Queens storage facility.
“These illegal and unlawful removals of the works of art is and was a strategic predicate for the service of a divorce action by Amon,” Hejailan-Amon charged.
And since filing for divorce, Mr. Amon hasn’t wasted any time, as he plans to sell a Basquiat at an upcoming Christie’s auction.
While there’s no established prenuptial agreement, according to her suit, Hajailan-Amon believes that she has “substantial if not a 50/50 interest” in the works.
Amon, 64, and Hejailan-Amon, 47, married in Hong Kong in 2008 and have since lived in London, Paris, and Gstaad, Switzerland.
Contrary to Hejailan-Amon’s claims, one of the lawyers for Amon’s coproration told the New York Post that the pieces aren’t even marital property.
“Ms. Hejailan-Amon was fully aware of the artwork removal plans and her claims are without substance,” said attorney Peter Bronstein.