Divorces can be ugly, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one as resentful as that of Harry and Linda Macklowe. The couple’s multi-year divorce saga ended on Monday night when the final pieces from their prized art collection were sold after a judge had ordered them to do so.
At Monday’s auction, the former couple bid farewell to dozens of rare artifacts and highly prized paintings, earning the former spouses a staggering $246.2 million.
But the divorcees’ treasure trove of art included so many pieces that two separate auctions were required. The first auction took place in November and featured a painting by abstract painter Mark Rothko, which fetched $82.5 million. Another highly sought-after piece, Jackson Pollock’s Number 17, 1951, sold for nearly $61 million, setting a record for the artist’s work.
Together with the $676 million they earned when the first batch sold last November, the former couple’s esteemed collection of 65 artworks brought in $922.2 million.
The nearly $1 billion brought in by the prized piece retroactively makes the collection one of the most valuable in the world, with Sotheby’s claiming it is the most valuable collection to ever sell at auction.
“It’s a collection that has never been moved or touched,” said Grégoire Billault, chairman of contemporary art for Sotheby’s, at a press event announcing the two-part auction in September. “Quite often, when we have collections for sale, a lot of it has been sold already, or some works are given to museums; others are given to members of the family.”
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He added that the Macklowes extensive treasure trove is “one of the most significant and museum-quality collections of modern and contemporary art ever to come to market,” and noted the magnitude of the event by deducing that “this sale will make history as the defining moments in the art market.”
Harry Macklowe, a billionaire real estate developer, married his wife in 1959. The two accumulated the $922.2 art collection together.
In 2018, as part of their divorce proceedings, a New York State Supreme Court forced the pair to sell the collection. The unusual ruling came after the former spouses couldn’t agree on the value of some of the pieces.
As a result, a judge appointed an administrator to oversee the sale of the items and ordered them to split the profits.
Source: Bloomberg, CNN
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