MIDTOWN — The daughter of a late Rolex CEO with a jaw-dropping art collection claims her dad’s girlfriend wasted no time removing works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring from his home after his death.
Patrick Heiniger’s daughter, Alicia, filed a petition in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court last week accusing the luxury watch king’s girlfriend, Nina Stevens, of having the million-dollar masterpieces carted away three days after he died in March and keeping their whereabouts a secret.
Alicia, the executor of her dad’s estate, believes that about five to seven valuable pieces of art were taken from her dad’s home in the Olympic Tower in Midtown.
While she doesn’t have an exact list of missing works, Alicia believes it includes a multi-colored Marilyn Monroe painting by Warhol, an oil painting by Picasso titled “Buste d’homme,” two Haring drawings and a Basquiat painting called “All Colored Cast.”
The pieces are likely worth millions of dollars. In May auction house Sotheby’s sold a Picasso painting also titled “Buste d’homme” for $9.7 million. At a Sotheby's auction in February, a similar Warhol painting fetched $5.1 million.
Alicia claims that in April her lawyer, William A. Cahill Jr., contacted Winchester Fine Art Services Inc. and Elite Systematic Arts Inc. — the firms that removed and shipped the art to an undisclosed location — to find out what was taken.
But Winchester said Stevens had ordered it not to talk and Elite never responded, according to the petition.
Patrick’s daughter said that the art that remains in her dad's apartment has been valued at $11 million. However, the appraisal also raised concerns that some of the art is fake, the petition said.
To determine whether Stevens or her late boyfriend owned the remaining art in the apartment, Cahill reached out to art dealer Tony Shafrazi, whose Chelsea gallery sold to both of them.
In September Cahill asked Shafrazi to supply purchase records — and to learn the authenticity of some pieces. But Shafrazi allegedly brushed off the request.
The petition demands Shafrazi, Elite and Winchester provide the requested records so that Cahill can do a proper accounting of the estate and pay taxes.
Winchester, Elite and Shafrazi did not respond to request for comments. Cahill also did not respond to a request for comment.
Patrick Heiniger ran Rolex from 1992 to 2008, when he stepped down for personal reasons. In 2002 he founded the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative to assist up-and-coming artists.
He was 62 when he died.