In the 9 years since the Whitney Museum vacated its home in the Breuer Building, the masterpiece of Brutalist architecture has played host to titans of the art industry. First housing The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more recently, The Frick, 945 Madison Avenue is in-and-of itself a work of art.
Once described by the New York Times as “harsh, but handsome,” the Breuer Building was commissioned in 1963, and construction was completed in 1966. While it was once declared “the most disliked building,” in recent years it has been celebrated for its “distinctive profile and idiosyncratic features.”
But when The Frick announced it would be returning to its mansion in 2024, big questions came up regarding the future of the Breuer Building. Speculation online even included the possibility of the building being converted into a luxury gym.
Luckily for lovers of architecture, on June 1 it was announced that art auction house Sotheby’s will purchase the Breuer from the Whitney and make it their main headquarters beginning in 2025.
While the exact amount the building sold for has not been made public, estimates are around $100,000,000. Sotheby’s will move its offices, galleries, and auction room from its current location at 1334 York Avenue to 945 Madison. Early on, they plan to hire an architect, with the goal of “renewing and restoring” the building’s lobby and other internal spaces. As is the case with their current location, the building will be free and open to the public.
The Whitney’s director, Adam Winberg, says of the sale, “The iconic Breuer Building will always be a beloved part of the Whitney’s rich history. We are pleased that it will continue to serve an artistic and cultural purpose through the display of artworks and artifacts.”