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Topline

A treasure trove of artworks amassed by property mogul Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda during their nearly six-decade marriage has fetched Sotheby’s $922.2million in the past six months , setting a record for the most expensive art collection ever sold. at auction.

Highlights

The second half of 30 lots from the Macklowe collection, auctioned on Monday, was estimated at around $200 million, but ended up with $246.1 million including fees.

The first auction in November fetched a record $676 million for 35 pieces, marking Sotheby’s most valuable auction in its 277-year history.

Combined, the two sales surpassed the $832 million record set by the late banker David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy in 2018 when their collection was auctioned off for charity, Sotheby’s said.

The final 30 pieces in the Macklowes’ modern and contemporary collection included landmark pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Jean Dubuffet and Willem de Kooning that the couple collected during their almost six decades. marriage.

Rothko’s 1960 painting “Untitled” – which had never been on public display before the sale – fetched $48 million and was the most expensive artwork sold at auction on Monday.

Another star of the sale was one of Warhol’s last works: a self-portrait that was completed a few months before the artist’s death in 1987 and sold for $18.7 million.

crucial quote

” I am delighted. Not by economy, but by quality recognized by collectors,” Harry Macklowe told reporters after the sale. “Everyone approving of the choices we’ve made over the past 65 years has been the greatest reward.” He could be seen on Monday night watching the auction unfold from above in a skybox in Sotheby’s auction room.

Surprising fact

Harry Macklowe is often reported to be a billionaire, but in 2019, Forbes estimated the couple had a net worth of between $900 million and $1.1 billion before the divorce, a figure that included their massive art collection. In 2018, a judge ordered the couple to split their fortunes in half, each leaving between $450 million and $550 million at the time. Forbes valued.

Key Context

The Macklowes have collected pieces from the world’s elite contemporary and modern artists to amass what Sotheby’s called the finest collection of art ever to be auctioned. The Macklowes divorced in 2016, and during the divorce proceedings, the former couple’s legal teams discussed the value of the art collection they had amassed in 57 years of marriage. While the expert hired by Harry Macklowe valued the work at $788 million, Linda Macklowe’s expert estimated its value at $625 million. Both fell short of the $937.5 million figure from Christie’s, which appraised the collection for a 2015 insurance estimate.

Further reading

Macklowe Divorce Art Trove: See the highlights of the collection’s second auction (Forbes)

Real estate tycoon Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife’s art collection fetch $676million in first of two auctions (pictures) (Forbes)

Real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife’s art hoard could fetch over $600 million at auction (Forbes)

Why ‘Billionaire’ Real Estate Mogul Harry Macklowe Isn’t Really a Billionaire (Forbes)