An $800M Art Collection Is Heading To Auction

Sotheby’s will sell 65 major works that belonged to Harry and Linda Macklowe in two separate sales.

By Angelica Villa 10/09/2021

In one of the art market’s most widely anticipated auctions, the collection of divorcing New York developers Harry and Linda Macklowe, will be sold at Sotheby’s this fall. Prime examples of work by Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Alberto Giacometti will be among the 65 works from the Macklowes’ holdings offered across two designated sales at the auction house’s New York headquarters. The first standalone sale will take place on November 15; the second will be held in May 2022. The collection is estimated in excess of $800 million.

Andy Warhol’s Nine Marilyns (1962), a black and white silkscreen depicting nine repeated publicity photographs of Marilyn Monroe, is estimated at $50 million to $80 million; Cy Twombly’s billboard-sized canvas Untitled (2007) seen above, featuring red flower forms painted on a white background is estimated at $50 million to $80 million; and Gerhard Richter’s painting Seestück (1975), a grey-toned blurry seascape, is estimated at $33 million to $47 million. Works by Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Jeff Koons, and Sigmar Polke, and other artists will be included in the two sales.

A Rothko painting and Giacometti sculpture from the collection are expected to become two of the most expensive artworks sold at auction this year.  Giacometti’s Le Nez (1947), a bronze sculpture of a bust that hangs suspending in an open steel cage, and Rothko’s No. 7 (1951), a three-colour painting featuring stacked blocks of nude pink, chartreuse, and orange, both have estimates upon request. They are valued at around $95 million each.

“This collection was assembled with an unparalleled eye for several decades,” said Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart in a press conference announcing the sale, “it will make history as one of the defining moments of the art market.”

Sotheby’s chairman for contemporary art Grégoire Billault said the collection is out of the ordinary, not only for its quality, but due to the fact that it has been kept intact for so many years. “I’ve never seen this,” said Baillaut, “It is a group of works that have been kept together as a proper treasure.”

According to Sotheby’s, the Macklowe sale comes to the market with the highest estimate ever placed on a single collection at auction. It rivals the Rockefeller collection sale at Christie’s in 2018, which made $1.12 billion, against an estimate of $680 million.

News of the sale comes months after art dealer Michael Findlay, the court-appointed receiver overseeing the distribution of the Macklowes’ art collection, decided to postpone the sale of the couple’s holdings in March 2020 due to the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

Harry and Linda Macklowe

Harry and Linda Macklowe. Patrick McMullan/A. Scott

During divorce proceedings in 2018, a New York judge ordered real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda to sell 65 artworks from their $2.7 billion fortune and to split the proceeds. Those artworks are said to be worth approx. $950 million. Findlay was appointed as receiver for the art collection in October 2020 amid a contentious 14-week divorce trial between the couple, who had been married for five decades.

Harry amassed his wealth as the founder of Macklowe Properties Inc. The couple started collecting in the late 1950s, and have over the course of several decades acquired more than 150 works. Judge Drager ruled in 2018 that Linda, an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a vice president and trustee of the Guggenheim Museum, would be able to keep $55 million worth in art.

Sotheby’s beat out its competitor, Christie’s, to sell the behemoth collection. The grouping carries a guarantee. The works will travel to Taipei, Hong Kong, Paris, and London before coming up for sale in New York.

This article was originally published on Art News.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

AI Reveals Hidden Portrait In Picasso Painting

London-based startup Oxia Palus used software to recreate the late master’s brush strokes.

By Bryan Hood

13/10/2021

Botticelli’s ‘Man of Sorrows’ Painting Goes To Auction

The painting could fetch $54 million.

By Angelica Villa

08/10/2021

MGM Resorts Is Auctioning Off $135 Million in Picasso Paintings

The sale, which takes place at the Bellagio hotel on October 23, will feature 11 of the towering artist’s works.

By Angelica Villa

12/08/2021

Robb Interview: Vito Schnabel

The famed art dealer in a quickfire tête-à-tête.

By Julie Belcove

30/06/2021

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected