Inside Macklowe’s divorce that led to Sotheby’s biggest auction
It was a divorced for history books.
The split of real estate billionaire Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda led to the richest art auction night in Sotheby’s history on Monday, in a court ordered auction to divide their property.
When the final blow of the hammer fell, 35 lots of the struggling couple’s premier artwork, acquired over some 50 years, sold for $ 676 million.
But the Macklows, who had been married for 57 years, didn’t exactly celebrate in tandem. An insider told Page Six that Linda Macklowe (who reportedly had a genuine eye for art) sat in a skybox at the auction, while Harry “worked the soil like a pro.” . . He was having the best time of his life.
The source added, âWhat’s crazy about this art sale is that this is only the first half of the collection. The rest will go on sale in May.
Although they were a fine team of collectors, the Macklows’ marriage was controversial. In her book “The Liar’s Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World’s Toughest Tycoons”, journalist Vicky Ward wrote that they had “been heard to denigrate each other and denigrate their marriage in a forced and public manner.”
While the auction house was teeming with an elite percent, the real auction action took place over the phone via collectors in 25 countries around the world. One of them, a mysterious Asian buyer, locked up “No. 7” for a staggering $ 82.46 million – the highest sale in the auction.
Other people bidding heavily were reportedly members of royal families from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. A source from the auction told Page Six, “A lot of the big pieces went to overseas buyers, and it’s a big guessing game who bought which piece of art.” Some buyers, however, were less than secret. Sources say hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin bought Gerhard Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild” for $ 33 million after a long bidding war.
Cryptocurrency investor Justin Sun claimed via Twitter that he was the buyer of Giacometti’s $ 78.4 million coin “Le Nez”. Sotheby’s reports that this is one of the highest prices ever achieved by the artist. Sun plans to donate the work to a foundation that deals with NFTs.
Jackson Pollock’s âNumber 17, 1951â set a record for the artist, grossing $ 61,161,000.
Five collectors, determined to buy, battled for Agnes Martin’s “Untitled # 44”, taking the price to a record $ 17.7 million, more than double its high estimate of $ 8 million.
Even those who had no financial interest in the works of Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollack and Cy Twombly, which all exceeded $ 50 million, savored the thrill of it all. Art dealer Helly Nahmad, who was there but didn’t buy anything at the auction, told The Post: âIt was like fireworks. Basically everyone was very enthusiastic and bidding. It was like the roaring twenties. It was the atmosphere.
Ironically, Ward told the Post, âThe art collection was what held Harry and Linda together. If there hadn’t been an art collection, they would never have stayed together. Harry absolutely respected his eye.
But, Ward added, âIt was the toxic marriage of hell. The level of vitriol, but at the same time this extraordinary connection, was there. They needed each other and they destroyed each other.
In 2019, a year after their divorce, Harry married Patricia Lazar-Landeau and adorned a building on Park Avenue with a 42 foot high display panel depicting the smiling faces of the newlyweds celebrating their wedding.
Ward maintained that Linda wanted to keep the collection together, even after the divorce, and Harry urged her to break it up because “she forced him to sell the General Motors Building, which symbolized the peak of his career. This auction is the ultimate in tit for tat.
Other highlights of the sale: Andy Warhol’s 1962 silkscreen “Nine Marilyns”, produced shortly after Marilyn Monroe’s death, sold for $ 48.5 million, while the “Sixteen Jackies” tribute from Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy pop artist sold for $ 33.9 million.
All of this is a godsend for premium collectors. âAt the macro level, it’s good for art in general,â Helly Nahmad told The Post. âThere were bidding wars between serious collectors and also people relocating assets in art, which is serious asset allocation. On a more specific level, if you own works by artists whose prices are breaking records tonight, that’s a good thing – if you like money.