For major auction houses, spring is in the air—which also means priceless works will soon hit the auction block. On May 14, one of the more anticipated collections will come from the estate of the late John Whitehead, former chairman of Goldman Sachs.
Whitehead, who died in February at age 92, possessed a treasure trove of impressionist and modern art that industry watchers expect will net more than $40 million. The 90-piece collection includes rare works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Amedeo Modigliani and Pierre Bonnard.
Judging by the amounts some of the pieces in his collection may fetch, it's possible that Whitehead's Midas touch has survived his demise. Among the highlights from the Whitehead collection is a 1916 Modigliani canvas called "Portrait de Béatrice Hastings," that carries an estimated price tag of $7 million to $10 million.
Achim Moeller, an art advisor and the owner of a fine art gallery, worked with Whitehead on his art acquisitions for more than three decades.
"Although I was careful to avoid ever being an arbiter of John's taste, I provided him with an overall assessment of the work's value. I am grateful to John for his trust and faith in me over the past thirty-four years," Moeller told CNBC via e-mail.
"Naturally, I have always esteemed the relationship between the collector and his art advisor. For this reason alone, I regard my own with John Whitehead as an achievement, akin to noteworthy collector-advisor associations that have existed through a great part of art history," he added.
Another highlight in the sale is a rare 1888 Claude Monet, "Paysage de matin," estimated at $6 million to $8 million.