Art auction raises over $ 676 million for high-profile divorce settlement

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

This article was updated with final prices and other details after the first auction.

Almost three years after New York real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda’s high-profile divorce proceedings, a portion of their art collection has exceeded sales estimates by more than $ 676 million.

An initial batch of 35 works of art was auctioned on Monday, including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. A work by abstract painter Mark Rothko sold for $ 82.5 million, while Jackson Pollock’s “Number 17, 1951” sold for more than $ 61 million to set a new record for the artist’s work.

Cy Twombly’s 2007 untitled work sold for nearly $ 59 million. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

“It’s a collection that has never been moved (or) touched,” said GrĂ©goire Billault, Sotheby’s president of contemporary art, at a press event announcing the two-part auction in September. “Very often when we have collections for sale, a large quantity has already been sold, or some (works) are given to museums; others are given to family members.”

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

Giacometti "Le Nez" (left) sold for $ 78.4 million, while Andy Warhol "Nine marilyns" (right) made $ 47.4 million.

Giacometti’s “Le Nez” (left) sold for $ 78.4 million, while Andy Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns” (right) sold for $ 47.4 million. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

In 2018, during their divorce proceedings, a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the Macklowes to sell 65 works of art from their collection and split the proceeds, after experts hired by the couple provided vastly different appraisals. what some of the works of art were worth. Valuations for Alberto Giacometti’s existential sculpture “La Nez,” for example, ranged from $ 30 million.

The court 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 last year due to the pandemic, according to Artnet.
Mark Rothko's painting "No. 7" (left), which sold for $ 82.5 million, and Pablo Picasso's sculpture "Figure" (right), which exceeded estimates and reached $ 26.3 million.

Mark Rothko’s painting “No. 7” (left), which sold for $ 82.5 million, and Pablo Picasso’s sculpture “Figura” (right), which exceeded estimates to reach $ 26.3 million. Dollars. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Giacometti’s sculpture eventually sold for more than $ 78 million, the second-highest price achieved at Monday’s auction. Elsewhere, Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns,” one of the pop artist’s famous Marilyn Monroe serigraphs, sold for more than $ 47 million and a Picasso sculpture honoring the French poet Apollinaire earned more than $ 26 million. .

The remaining 30 works of art will be under the hammer at Sotheby’s New York in May 2022.

At a virtual press event announcing the sale in September, Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart called the Macklowe Collection “one of the most important museum-quality collections of modern and contemporary art ever to come out. to the market”.

He added: “This sale … will make history as the defining moments in the art market.”

Top Image: Harry and Linda Macklowe attended the Guggenheim’s International Gala Dinner in 2015.

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