Tycoon’s bitter divorce results in $600m art collection auction by Sotheby’s

The divorce between real estate power couple Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda will soon be the art world’s gain when the most extravagant art collection ever put up for auction faces bidders starting in November. The Macklowes, who married in their 20s and each grew up in middle-class homes, were a staple of high society in New York and became prized clients in the art market. The collection is one aspect of Macklowe’s fortune that was split down the middle after a bitter trial between Harry and his ex-wife. The Macklowe Collection has landed at Sotheby’s with an estimated value of more than $600 million.

Sotheby’s declined to talk about the process of winning the sale, but people familiar with it say Sotheby’s offered a guarantee of $650 million to $700 million. A guarantee means Sotheby’s agrees to pay the seller a certain price, regardless of the eventual auction prices. The 65 works in the collection will be sold in two separate sales — on Nov. 15 and in May 2022.

“The Macklowe Collection stands in a league of its own as the greatest collection of Modern and Contemporary Art ever to come to the market,” said Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart. “It will undoubtedly captivate top collectors from around the world, and the sale will make history as one of the landmark events defining the art market and the history of Sotheby’s over the past 277 years.”

The Macklowes were avid and sophisticated collectors for 50 years, gathering top works by the most prominent names in contemporary and modern art. The two top works are each expected to fetch more than $70 million. There is a towering abstract by Rothko, called “No.7,” which he painted in the seminal year of 1951. Then there is Giacometti’s “Le Nez,” which is the last of the series to remain in private hands.

The collection also includes Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns,” his 1962 work celebrating Marilyn Monroe. It is estimated to sell for $40 million to $60 million.

Learn more about the Macklowe Collection here.

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