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The art auction raises more than $ 676 million for a high-profile divorce settlement

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Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

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

Nearly three years after the high-profile divorce process of New York real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his wife, Linda, a portion of his art collection has broken estimates to sell for more than $ 676 million. dollars.

An initial batch of 35 works of art was hammered in Monday, 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 the work. artist.

Cy Twombly's 2007 untitled play sold for nearly $ 59 million.

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

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

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 several commercial properties, according to court documents. They started their art collection shortly after they got married.

of Giacometti "The Nose" (left) sold for $ 78.4 million, while Andy Warhol's "We Marilyns" (right) reached $ 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 profits, after experts hired by the couple would provide very different valuations of the value of some of the artwork. Valuations of Alberto Giacometti’s existential sculpture “The Nose,” for example, ranged from $ 30 million.

The court decision sparked a battle between Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips auction houses to bring the collection to market; Designated art dealer Michael Findlay delayed the decision last year due to the pandemic, according to Artnet.
painting by Mark Rothko "Num.  7" (left), which sold for $ 82.5 million, and the sculpture by Pablo Picasso "Figure" (right), which exceeded estimates to reach $ 26.3 million.

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

Giacometti’s sculpture eventually sold for more than $ 78 million, the second highest price reached at Monday’s auction. Elsewhere, Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns,” one of the pop artist Marilyn Monroe’s famous serigraphs in series, grossed more than $ 47 million and a sculpture by Picasso in honor of French poet Apollinaire won more than $ 26 million.

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

At a virtual press event announcing the sale in September, Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart had described the Macklowe Collection as “one of the most significant, museum-quality collections of modern and contemporary art that have never been on the market. “

He added: “This sale … will make history as a turning point in the art market.”

Top image: Harry and Linda Macklowe attending the 2015 Guggenheim International Gala Dinner.

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