Art Collection Expected To Fetch At Least $ 600 Million To Help Settle A Divorce | Art


It is a collection that has achieved an almost mythical status in the art world, a collection that contains spectacular works by Picasso, Rothko, Warhol and a nightmarish sculpture by Giacometti of a Pinocchio-like nose in a cage.

After an American judge ordered its sale to help settle the acrimonious divorce of a billionaire couple, there were a series of rumors and stories about who would sell the collection and when.

On Thursday, auction house Sotheby’s announced that it had won the auction battle and would hold two auctions for works estimated at $ 600 million, the highest figure ever placed on a single collection.

The collection is owned by Harry and Linda Macklowe, an incredibly wealthy New York couple who filed for divorce five years ago after 59 years of marriage.

Giacometti’s Nose and Warhol’s Nine Marilyns. Photograph: Image courtesy of Sothebys

Lawyers for the couple, both 80, have argued over how the assets should be divided and valued, including the incredible art collection. A judge ultimately ordered 65 of the most valuable works to be sold and the profits to be shared.

These are the works that will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in November and May.

Charles Stewart, managing director of the auction house, said it was “one of the most significant, museum-quality modern and contemporary art collections ever to come to the market.”

“This collection has been assembled with an unrivaled eye over several decades,” he said. “There is no doubt that this sale will captivate the world’s greatest collectors and mark history as a defining moment in the art market. “

These best collectors will need to have deep pockets. The Giacometti is sold with an estimate of around $ 70 million. A similar estimate was put on Mark Rothko’s No.7, an 8-foot-tall 1951 painting with three vibrant and mesmerizing fields of lavender, green and purple.

The Warhols on sale include Nine Marilyns, a silkscreen print based on a 1953 commercial photograph of Marilyn Monroe from the film Niagara. The work is one of only two private hands and is estimated at between $ 40 million and $ 60 million.

The same estimate was placed on a 2007 Cy Twombly giant painting of red peony flowers, one of a group of six monumental paintings known as A Scattering of Blossoms.

Work of Cy Twombly.
Work of Cy Twombly. Photograph: Image courtesy of Sothebys

There are also works by Jeff Koons, Agnes Martin, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Brice Marden.

Harry Macklowe is one of New York’s best-known real estate developers. His ex-wife Linda is a prominent figure in the city’s art scene and Honorary Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Trustee of the Guggenheim Foundation.

While they were married, they were known for their excess. When New York’s jazz-era landmark, the Plaza Hotel, reopened after a $ 400 million renovation, Harry Macklowe purchased an entire floor of the residential block, putting nine apartments in one for the couple.

Harry Macklowe and Linda Macklowe in 2005.
Harry Macklowe and Linda Macklowe in 2005. Photograph: Patrick McMullan / Getty Images

Their divorce was resentful and very public. After Harry Macklowe married his new wife Patricia Landeau, he installed a thousand square foot portrait of the happy couple on a skyscraper overlooking Central Park.

Sotheby’s has put a combined estimate of $ 600 million on the sale, the highest estimate ever placed on an upcoming collection. But he believes the figure is conservative. The suggestion is that the sale could beat the $ 835 million reached by Christie’s in 2018 when it sold the David and Peggy Rockefeller art collection.

He has high hopes for the Giacometti, which Brooke Lampley, global sales manager for global fine art, described as “one of the most extraordinary sculptures I have ever encountered.”

“Designed in the late 1940s, it is a daring and daring work that refers to both surrealism and African sculpture. No other copy of this work has ever appeared at auction. The majority of the casts were almost all immediately acquired by major museums around the world.

Sotheby’s would have had a tough battle with Christie’s to secure the sale of the collection. He declined to go into details but confirmed that he had offered a guarantee price for the sale, which means he will pay even if the works fail to sell.

The works will be on display in Sotheby’s galleries in London, Taipei, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Paris before the first sale in New York on November 15.

British auctioneer Oliver Barker will be at the podium. He said recent months have seen record demand in the high end of the art market and “a real thirst for great masterpieces”. The sale would be a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

He chose one of his favorites, a “breathtaking” work by Gerhard Richter 1975 titled Seestück. He said he condensed the influence of 19th century artists such as JMW Turner, John Constable and Caspar David Friedrich, but was at the same time “decidedly contemporary … a powerful illustration of Richter’s dominant status among living artists of today ”.

It is one of only four Richter seascapes on this scale and is priced at $ 25-35 million.


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