On the brink of collapse, the American art specialist Berry-Hill Galleries was saved from foreclosure by an unexpected benefactor.
Hedge fund manager John Paulson is not known to be a patron of the arts. He is rarely seen at major art auctions, and is not perceived as an active player in the art scene. However, the fund run by Paulson & Co., Paulson Credit Opportunities Master Ltd., recently purchased a loan to the Berry-Hill Galleries for about $10 million. On top of that already generous sum, the fund purchased the mortgage on the gallery’s property, an elegant townhouse near the Frick Collection.
Last year, Berry-Hill defaulted on a debt of $9.5 million to an entity known as American Capital Ltd. Dozens of paintings and sculptures, including works by Winslow Homer and Milton Avery, were seized from the gallery’s headquarters. More recently, the gallery’s former mortgage lender began foreclosure proceedings on its $16 million mortgage.
Now, thanks to the Paulson fund’s generosity, all legal proceedings have ended and the artwork has been restored to its Upper East Side home. Works of art from the Hudson River School, Impressionist painting, and the Ashcan group are once again displayed within the gallery, where art patrons and curious passersby can come and admire the collection.