Michael Crichton's daughter speaks up about sale of her father's art collection
Taylor Crichton, the 21-year-old daughter of the late bestselling author Michael Crichton, has made her first public comments on the planned sale of the majority of her father's prized art collection.
Christie's, which is handling the May sale, has stated that Crichton's art is expected to bring in about $100 million and that the money will go to beneficiaries named by the novelist, including family members and friends.
The high-profile sale, which is set to take place in New York, will include about 100 works, or close to 80% of the novelist's personal collection. Among the works scheduled to hit the auction block are masterpieces by Jasper Johns (who was a close friend of Crichton), Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and other 20th century modern masters.
On Tuesday afternoon, Crichton's daughter addressed the sale by issuing a statement through a spokesperson.
"I am pleased Christie’s is handling the sale of my father’s extensive art collection. These amazing works of art were so incredibly important to my father. Each piece brought him immense joy," Taylor Crichton said.
"He was captivated by these artists and their work, and that love of art is a part of my own DNA because of him. Since I have been around most of these amazing works of art my entire life, it almost feels like some of my best friends are permanently moving away from the neighborhood."
Crichton installed much of the artwork that he purchased in his L.A.-area home, according to Christie's. He hung an encaustic rendering of the American flag by Johns above a fireplace in his bedroom.
As The Times reported last week, the Crichton art sale comes with a back story that includes a skirmish over the terms of the novelist's trust.
Crichton, who created the TV series "ER" and wrote such bestselling novels as "Jurassic Park" and "The Terminal Man," died in 2008 following a battle with cancer. His immediate survivors at the time included his fifth wife, Sherri, and Taylor, who is his daughter from his fourth marriage. At the time of her husband's death, Sherri Crichton was pregnant with their son, John Michael Todd. The will did not provide for the unborn child.
After the boy's birth, Sherri Crichton petitioned the court to designate him an heir, but Taylor opposed her stepmother's move. In October, a Superior Court judge in L.A. ruled that her half brother was entitled to a third of their father's estate.
Adam Streisand, an attorney for Sherri Crichton and her son, told The Times that the May art sale "will give us liquid assets in which we can start to distribute the estate."
In her Tuesday statement, Taylor Crichton said that she is "saddened at the reason this sale must take place" but added that she is "also excited at the prospect of sharing these amazing works of art with other collectors and museums from around the world."
She added: "It is my sincere hope that the new owners will appreciate their beauty, and that the art will provoke the same strong emotional reactions from their new caretakers that my father experienced while they were in his care."
Taylor Crichton's mother is the actress and screenwriter Anne-Marie Martin.
Those who knew Crichton said that the novelist was extremely private about his art collecting. In 2006, Crichton joined the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
A spokeswoman for LACMA said last week that the novelist did not leave any art from his collection to the museum.
-- David Ng
Photo (top): A view of Christie's press preview of works from the collection of Michael Crichton. Credit: Jesse Grant / Getty Images
Photo (bottom): Michael Crichton. Credit: Keith Bedford / Getty Images