The Macklowe Collection – made up of 65 artworks with a total estimate of more than $600 million – will finally go on sale at Sotheby’s.
Comprised of a number of masterpieces by 20th century artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter, the collection was built over the course of 50 years by American billionaire and real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his now ex-wife Linda.
After 59 years of marriage, the couple filed for divorce in 2016, with proceedings stretching across five years. The sale of the collection is a consequence of the split after a New York judge ordered that the proceeds be divided between the couple in 2018.
The judge also appointed famed art dealer Michael Findlay to oversee the sale of the works, as the couple could not agree on the valuation of the pieces.
In March 2020, the auction for the Macklowe Collection was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting global crisis.
Sotheby’s and Christie’s both competed for the consignment, the estimate of which is one of the highest for any collection to come to auction, surpassed only by the auction of David and Peggy Rockefeller’s estate in 2018, which brought in $835m at Christie’s.
The two-part sale at Sotheby’s, the first taking place in November with 34 artworks, will be a test for the art market as it emerges from the slowdown caused by global lockdowns, cancelled events and an uncertain economy.
Prized artworks in the Macklowe Collection
The Macklowe Collection is noted for its many masterpieces and significant works, including Warhol’s Nine Marilyns from 1962, estimated at $40m to $60m.
Warhol had created 20 silkscreen paintings with actress Marilyn Monroe’s likeness from the 1953 film Niagara, though only six of the paintings bear the repetition of the image nine times.
There is also Giacometti’s Le Nez, a sculptural work conceived in 1947 and cast circa 1964. It shows the profile of a human figure, rendered in a surrealist style that also borrowed from African sculpture, housed in a cage. Among the top lots in the auction, the work is valued at around $60m to $80m.
Other notable works include Rothko’s No. 7 (Dark over Light), an impeccable example of the artist’s shift to the abstract compositions that he became known for in his later career. Painted by1951, the work measures up to 95 inches in height and is also estimated at $60m to $80m.
In addition, there are also paintings by Twombly, specifically an untitled monumental work from 2007 that is part of a series of six known as Blooming: A Scattering of Blossoms and Other Things and expected to sell for $40m to $60m, and by Richter, whose soft skyscape Seestuck from 1975 is estimated to go for $25 to $35 million.
The Macklowe Collection will be up for auction in May 2022.
Ahead of its November sale, highlights of the collection will travel to Taipei, Hong Kong, and London, where they will be shown during Frieze, as well as Los Angeles and Paris, before returning to New York.