New York art dealer Andre Zarre bequeathed his multi-million dollar fortune to the deli worker in Queens
The family of a wealthy New York City art dealer is dumbfounded after learning that he bequeathed his fortune to a deli worker in Queens, who became his companion and “ caretaker ” during his final months.
Andre Zarre, who died in July at the age of 78, was one of the city’s top contemporary art dealers, owning galleries in the Upper East Side and Chelsea.
The Polish-born businessman lived in an apartment on chic Park Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
He also counted Gloria Vanderbilt and Emilie Benes Brzezinski – MSNBC’s mother Mika Brzezinski – as his friends.
Zarre, whose net worth is said to be worth millions of dollars, was not married and had no children.
Andre Zarre, who died in July at the age of 78, was one of the city’s top contemporary art dealers, owning galleries in the Upper East Side and Chelsea. He bequeathed his fortune to Jose Yeje, a Queens delicatessen
‘Zarre had a real’ eye ‘and was a champion of abstract art from the moment he founded his gallery,’ ‘artist Dana Gordon wrote in tribute written shortly after his death.
The painter Pat Lipsky agreed and told it The New York Post on Saturday: ‘He is unprecedented in my experience. He had really good taste, but he could also do things that were really bizarre ‘.
One of those ‘things’ was reportedly a decision to invest in Palermo Delicatessen in Glendale, Queens last October.
Glendale – a working-class neighborhood – is a far cry from Zarre’s posh Park Avenue path and the affluent Manhattan neighborhoods with which he was usually associated.
Nick Wolfson, an artist and close friend, told The New York Post he was concerned when he heard about Zarre’s plans to get involved with the sandwich shop.
“I never understood why he would engage in anything other than art,” Wolfson said.
He was vulnerable. He became really blind and could barely put one foot in front of the other. ‘
Jose Yeje is depicted outside the Palermo Delicatessen in Glendale, Queens
However, Zarre had befriended one of the deli countermen – a 50-year-old man named Jose Yeje – whom he reportedly met in 2016.
Yeje is a married father of four who claims to be a co-owner of the Palermo Deli.
As Zarre’s health started to deteriorate earlier this year, Yeje would become the art dealer’s ‘janitor’.
A frequent visitor to the New York Post said she saw Zarre on the premises six times a week.
Yeje also helped Zarre around his Park Avenue apartment.
“He had bad knees, couldn’t walk, and he had heart problems, diabetes and gout,” Yeje told The Post.
‘I washed him, bought his groceries and fed him. He trusted me and I took care of him. He was almost about to move into my house. We’ve talked about it a lot. ‘
However, friends and family of Zarre paint a more opportunistic picture of the dedicated deli.
Zarre only knew the man [Yeje] for the last eight months, if so. Nobody liked him here. … He has just taken over his life, ‘said an employee of the Park Avenue complex in Zarre.
On July 6, Zarre reportedly signed a will making Yeje his sole heir.
Just nine days later, Zarre died after a fall at his home on July 15.
Zarre’s friends were stunned by his decision to invest in the working-class Queens deli
A short time later, Yeje called the art dealer’s cousin in England to tell him he was the sole heir to his estate.
“I was shocked,” the cousin told The Post. “For over 30 years, he said he would leave us everything. He never told us he changed his will.
Last month, Yeje sent a letter to that cousin “offering $ 45,000 cash and land that Zarre owned in Poland in exchange for not challenging the will.”
Zarre’s cousins and other family members say they are considering legal action and say they think he has a lot more money in other accounts, as well as an art collection in storage that could fetch in the millions.