Art auction raises US$922 million to settle high-profile divorce

More than three years after the famous divorce proceedings of New York real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his wife, Linda, their art collection has become the most expensive collection ever sold at auction. price, grossing US$922.2 million during two different sales.

An initial batch of 35 works of art was made last November, including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. A work by abstract painter Mark Rothko grossed $82.5 million while Jackson Pollock’s “Number 17, 1951” sold for more than $61 million to set a new record for an artist’s work. this. On Monday night, the final 30 pieces were sold for a total of $246.1 million, with works by Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Willem de Kooning and Agnes Martin. Featured are another untitled painting by Rothko, which sold for $48 million, and a self-portrait by Warhol that fetched $18.7 million. At the end of the night, it was a “white glove sale”, meaning every piece was sold.

Grégoire Billault, Sotheby’s president of contemporary art, said: “It’s a collection that has never been moved (or) touched, at a press event announcing the two-part auction in September last year. “Usually, when we have collections for sale, a lot of it has been sold or some (works) are given to museums; others are given to family members. “

The Macklowe Collection has surpassed the previous record for highest value by a single art collection – the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection, which totaled $835.1 million at Christie’s in 2018.

The Macklowes married in their early 20s in 1959 and have since amassed all of their significant assets together, including a $72 million apartment, a yacht, and various other assets. commercial property, according to court documents. They started their art collection soon after getting married.

In 2018, in their divorce proceedings, a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the Macklowes family to sell 65 works of art from their collection and split the profits, after experts The couple’s hired experts give different assessments of the value of some works of art. The valuation for Alberto Giacometti’s existential sculpture “La Nez,” for example, hovers around $30 million.

The court’s decision sparked a battle between auction houses Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips to bring the collection to market; Designated art dealer, Michael Findlay, delayed the decision in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to Artnet.

The Giacometti sculpture eventually sold for more than $78 million, the second highest price achieved in the first installment of the series. auction. Elsewhere, Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns” – one of the famous Pop artist’s Marilyn Monroe serial prints – has grossed more than $47 million and a Picasso sculpture honoring the house. French poetry Apollinaire earned more than 26 million dollars.

At a virtual press event announcing the sale in September, Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart called the Macklowe Collection “one of the most significant collections of contemporary and modern art and has the museum quality that’s ever hit the market.”

And what he predicted has come true. He added: “This acquisition will…make history as one of the defining moments in the art market.”

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