Hidden Collections

Michael Crichton's Jasper Johns "Flag" at Auction

Though Michael Crichton is best known for his literary contributions, the late author also had a penchant for collecting art. This month, Christie’s will sell four of his prized works, including Jasper Johns’ “Flag.” Crichton purchased the influential piece in 1974 directly from the artist, whom he met in the early 70s and they soon became close friends. Johns went on to ask Crichton to write the catalog for a retrospective of his work at the Whitney Museum soon thereafter in 1977. Surprisingly, Crichton once said he never considered himself a serious art collector. “I have neither the knowledge, the devotion nor the dementia of the deeply committed collector,” he wrote in 1980. But on February 12, Christie’s in London will reveal Crichton’s collection, displaying Johns’ seminal work and a Rauschenberg, a Picasso, and a Lichtenstein the Hollywood leader owned before Christie’s in New York sells them in May. The Johns flag painting is a particular rarity, considering the series rarely goes on sale. Christie’s America deputy chairman Brett Gorvy would not yet put an estimate on the coveted work.