Billionaire Harry Macklowe and his estranged wife Linda are currently in the midst of a contentious divorce. But this couple’s loss is from one point of view the art world’s gain, as now their renowned art collection will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s as a way to resolve a disagreement between them on the true value of their art.
In a solution that will hopefully satisfy both parties, the soon-to-be-exes agreed to sell off their 65 most valuable pieces. Those 65 pieces include works by luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, and Pablo Picasso. The proceeds will be split 50/50.
Pre-sale estimates value the paintings at around $600 million. That’s $600 million for just 65 pieces of art.
As you can imagine, multiple big auction houses were vying for the chance to handle the sales. Christie’s and Phillips were among those competing for the privilege, but Sotheby’s came out on top. The auction house’s chief executive officer was clear about the significance of the event, describing the Macklowe art collection in a press statement as “one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.”
Single-owner art auctions like the Macklowe collection had been somewhat rare during the covid-19 pandemic, but are said to be back on the rise now. Other recent big ticket art auctions include the approximately $150 million worth of pieces that once belonged to the late Anne Marion, and the estimated $200 million Edwin Cox collection set to be auctioned soon.
The Macklowe collection is scheduled to be auctioned off in two parts. The first will be in November, while the second is slated for May of 2022.
As we mentioned a moment ago, Sotheby’s expect the total sale price to be around $600 million but we of course won’t know how much they’re really worth until the final hammer of the auction falls. Other opinions on the value of these paintings vary, hence the dispute in the first place, and previous valuations reportedly differed by as much as $30 million.