Wednesday, September 27, 2023 Sep 27, 2023
94° F Dallas, TX


By Sally Giddens |

FEDS “This is not a fire sale,” says TONY ALTERMANN about this month’s court-ordered auction of the M Corp art collection at Altermann & Morris Galleries.

It’s a familiar line-we’ve been hearing it from the FSLIC, the RTC, the banks-and the bankruptcy courts-as they have all sold off assets acquired by now-busted Dallas businesses during fatter days.

A big FSLIC auction filled the giant J. Tippen Company warehouse in Garland with everything from typewriters to Western bronzes, drawing gawkers and bidders who munched popcorn and drank iced tea while the auctioneer hawked. The sale earned $802,000.

But Altermann (along with the courts, M Corps 200 creditors, and the U.S. Trustees) has different plans for the M Corp collection, which Altermann believes to be the largest collection of important works by contemporary Western artists ever brought to market. Featured are works by such sagebrush masters as HOWARD TERPNING, FRANK MCCARTHY, and OLAF WIEGHORST.

Altermann has been preparing for the May 18 auction for more than a year and a half, dotting i’s and crossing t’s for the feds to convince them he can attract a long list of credible and interested buyers,

That may sound familiar to local real estate types who have grown used to waiting months for approval to sell or buy land mired in federal red tape. But Altermann believes the careful planning will pay. The collection, part of which was lovingly assembled by ex-M Corp bigwig GENE BISHOP, is conservatively valued at $1.7 million and could bring as much as $2 million at auction.

“When it’s all said and done,” Altermann says, “if you take the real estate, the oil field equipment, and the other things, then throw in the art, the art should perform better.”