In a Jan. 10, 1997 file photo, retired pathologist Dr. Jack Kevorkian smiles in his attorney’s Southfield, Mich., office while showing off his latest painting. Kevorkian’s paintings, writings and his iconic blue sweater are going up for auction. Kevorkian’s attorney and close friend Mayer Morganroth said Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 that the late pathologist’s artwork and items will be sold in late October at the New York Institute of Technology. (AP Photo/Jeff Kowalsky, File)
DETROIT (AP) — Paintings, writings and the iconic blue sweater of assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian are going up for auction, his attorney and close friend said Friday.
Lawyer Mayer Morganroth said the late pathologist’s artwork and items will be sold in late October at the New York Institute of Technology. Scheduled for auction are more than 20 paintings, Kevorkian’s art kit and the sweaters he became known for donning during his high-profile assistance in the suicides of dozens of people in the 1990s.
Many of the paintings depict death or dying, and are often intended to provoke or disturb. One of those up for auction is entitled “Genocide,” and features a bloody head being dangled by the hair and held by the hands of two soldiers. One wears a German military uniform from World War II and the other a Turkish uniform from World War I.
Morganroth said Kevorkian wanted to depict the mass killings of Armenians and Jews during World I and World War II, respectively. The doctor was of Armenian descent.
“Just looking at it, you can say (it’s) grotesque,” Morganroth said. “They were to make a point, like any art.”
CBS Detroit first reported the auction plan.
Morganroth said he doesn’t know the value of the collection but most of the proceeds will go to Kevorkian’s sole heir — a niece — and the charity Kicking Cancer for Kids. Morganroth said the timing was right to sell the items, since there was interest from several auction houses and the broader art world, as well as a desire to settle the estate.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with the New York Institute of Technology.
Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999, and was released from prison in 2007. He died in June at the age of 83.
Suburban Detroit art gallery owner Anne Kuffler, who has twice displayed Kevorkian’s work and sells signed and numbered lithographs of six of his works for $500 apiece, said she was offered $100,000 for one of his original paintings during the first exhibit of his work in 1994. Kuffler, owner of the Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak, suspects that the value has only increased since then.
“I had several orders for his prints this morning,” she said.
Kuffler recalled an argument with Kevorkian, who painted the frame of “Genocide” with his own blood and wanted to have a skeleton with an IV flowing through it next to the painting.
“He said, ‘I want to show how horrible it is, I want people to be upset by it,'” Kuffler said. “I said, ‘If you haven’t portrayed it in your painting, then you haven’t succeeded.'”
Many of the paintings have been hanging at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Mass., which also has a collection of his compositions and writings. Kevorkian was also a keen musician and composer.
“I think the legacy is showing the many facets of him and his capabilities,” Morganroth said. “He was a multi-talented man.”