John Studzinski, senior managing director of Blackstone Group LLP and a cultural philanthropist, is sponsoring the British Museum’s new show on the art of the Christian relic.
Studzinski, 55, is also a collector, with a mix of old masters and modern and contemporary art in his Chelsea riverside mansion. The banker said he is selling “several items” at Sotheby’s next week.
“I buy and sell art in the ordinary course of managing my collection, setting money aside for charity, and funding my new art purchases,” Studzinski said. He would not give any details of the art going on sale.
In the autumn, the banker-philanthropist is selling his collection of Chinese bronzes in Asia because of interest shown by collectors from the region, he said.
Commenting on the climate for U.K. philanthropy, Studzinski said high taxation rates led some potential benefactors to lie low. “I know a number of very wealthy generous donors who probably, on balance, may not give a big donation to a big institution because they don’t want the profile,” he said.
At the same time, he said, institutions are getting much more savvy about targeting, and retaining, benefactors.
“So much of philanthropy is being part of a tribe,” he said. “People do want to be a part of the tribe: They have to decide what tribe they want to be a part of.”