Elevated Collecting

Alan and Diane Lieberman combine art with a view

Diane & Alan Lieberman in front of Justin Bond by Catherine Opie

By Aaron Glickman
Photos by Manny Hernandez

Perched high in the Aventura skyline is the home of Alan and Diane Lieberman. The couple has lived in their mansion-in-the-sky for the past 12 years, since, as Alan proudly pointed out, the asking price was a mere $350 per square foot.

Their ability to find value in real estate should come as no surprise. Having moved to Miami from Philadelphia 36 years ago, the family owns the South Beach Hotel Group and has accumulated a portfolio that consists of 11 hotels in Miami Beach, as well as properties to the north in Hollywood Beach. Additionally, Diane is the owner and broker of South Beach International Realty with more than 100 agents.

Alan standing beside a Ferdinand Leger watercolor

As with real estate, the Liebermans have demonstrated the same ability to find value in art by acquiring multiple works that have doubled and tripled in value.

Their residence houses a modern and contemporary art collection that mixes abstract painting with large scale photography. Much of the photography establishes an appreciation of sexuality and the female form.

Upon entering the unit through a private elevator, German-American painter Hans Hofmann’s 1949 “Gift to Harold Rosenberg” is just past the foyer. Alan describes the work as an important historical piece that demonstrates the artist’s breakthrough to abstraction.

In the same genre, the Liebermans display two watercolor works by Ferdinand Leger. The pieces were bought many years ago for $25,000 apiece. Alan values them today at more than $200,000.

Helmut Newton's "Two Violettas"

From abstract to realism, a gorgeously large and seductive Helmut Newton photograph of two statuesque women in the nude hangs in the dining room. “Two Violettas” was bought at Art Basel six years ago. The Liebermans went back the following year to buy another Newton, but the prices had doubled.

“That’s when you stop collecting an artist,” said Alan. “When things go up double, triple, quadruple – you can’t collect them anymore.”

Another large scale photograph on display is by American artist Catherine Opie. Once again touching on themes of sexuality, “Justin Bond” is a photo of what appears to be an attractive woman, when in actuality the image is of a famed London transvestite. The image is so convincing that Diane’s father, upon seeing the piece for the first time, remarked on how lovely the woman is.

Across from the Opie is a photograph by French artist Sabine Pigalle. “2 Asian Warriors” shows two Asian femme fatales who demonstrate a forceful sensuality. The Liebermans appreciated Pigalle’s work so much that they purchased two additional photographs for their Riviera hotel.

Diane & Alan Lieberman in front of a watercolor by Ferdinand Leger

Adjacent to Pigalle are seven black and white photos by Larry Fink. The pieces are grouped together and were picked by Alan from roughly 300 images in a Chelsea gallery. Each of the black and white images display some nuance of Russian society.

Also on display throughout the condo are works from Picasso, Guy LeBaube, Joan Miro, Yu Chen, Frank Stella and Jorge Pantoja.

The Liebermans’ appreciation for the arts goes beyond their personal collection. Diane sits on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), and Alan sits on the board of the New World Symphony (NWS). Additionally, the couple funds educational theatre at the Jewish Community Center and is funding the construction of a theater that will have their name.

Arts and culture have played a vital role in Miami’s international reputation and our city now hosts art lovers and collectors from around the world. The Liebermans are a significant example local collectors and financial supporters of our arts infrastructure who have paved the way for this international convergence and all of the pageantry that accompanies it.

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