Macklowe art collection fetches nearly $1B at auction

Spoils from industry’s biggest divorce include Rothkos, Warhols

Harry and Linda Macklowe (Getty Images, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Sotheby's, iStock)
Harry and Linda Macklowe (Getty Images, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Sotheby's, iStock)

Monday brought another round of spoils from real estate’s biggest divorce.

Sotheby’s auctioned its second set of art from Harry and Linda Macklowe’s prized collection on Monday night, the New York Times reported. The night’s collection went for $246.1 million, a modest sum next to the $676.1 million reaped in November from the first auction of the collection.

Nevertheless, the two-day total of $922.2 million, including fees, was a record total sale of a private collection at auction for Sotheby’s, surpassing the sale of the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection in 2018, which went for $835.1 million at Christie’s.

Monday night’s sale of 30 lots included pieces from Rothko, Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol. There were some works that fetched much more than expected, such as a 1961 de Kooning sold for $17.8 million, well above a high estimate of $10 million.

“I’m thrilled by it,” Harry Macklowe said after the sale. “Not by the economics, but by the quality being recognized by collectors. Everybody endorsing the choices we made over the last 65 years, that was the greatest payback.”

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The auction came about after a court ordered the sale and the proceeds split after Harry and Linda couldn’t agree on the value of 65 pieces of their larger art collection; Linda was the driving force behind assembling the collection and would have preferred to keep all of it.

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Macklowe Properties CEO Harry Macklowe and Linda Macklowe with pieces of their art collection (Sotheby's, iStock, Getty)
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Linda’s expert pegged the total value of the collection at $625 million, which was exceeded during the first part of the auction. Before the couple’s $2 billion divorce proceedings began, however, an insurance estimate in 2015 valued the collection at more than $937 million, slightly more optimistic than the end result.

“Linda Macklowe’s incomparable eye was on display again tonight,” dealer Marc Glimcher told the Times. “We can only hope she will decide to use these funds to bring her keen sense, impeccable taste and deep knowledge back to the artists and to collecting.”

[NYT] — Holden Walter-Warner