A nasty, high-profile divorce leads to Sotheby’s most expensive art sale. For $922 million

The past 6 months have been monumental for art auction house Sotheby’s, as it broke its own record for the most expensive art auction ever at $922 million. Sotheby’s has been busy catching the attention of art lovers around the world, thanks to the Macklowes’ high-profile divorce.

SO WHAT HAPPENS?

Harry and Linda Macklowe are a high profile couple from New York who divorced in 2016.

Harry and Linda Maclowe. Photo: Getty Images

If you’re an art fanatic or have seen the tall skyscrapers of New York, you may have heard of Harry Macklowe of New York. Harry is a real estate billionaire. Like many wealthy people, he and his wife have invested in many works of art during their 57 years of marriage. But when they divorced, the court ordered the paintings to be auctioned off and the amount to be split between the two.

As they say, one person’s loss is another person’s gain.

WHAT IS SOTHEBY’S DOING IN A DIVORCE MATTER?

Thanks to a 2018 court order, art lovers everywhere had the unique opportunity to get their hands on the Macklowes’ priceless collection, which was meticulously curated by Linda Macklowe. The couple had organized about 65 art pieces in total that were to be sold by Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s originally estimated the paintings to be worth $700 million. It’s approximately Rs 5,424 crores.

The court ordered that all of their spectacular artwork be sold in two parts. the first part consisted of 35 tables and was auctioned in November 2021 while the second part composed of the rest 30 paintings and was auctioned in May 2022.

The first part of the auction saw record sales as the 35 paintings in the first batch were sold for a total of $676 million (about Rs 5,236 crore).

The second part of the auction also made news as the 30 paintings sold for a total of $246 million (about Rs 1,905 crore), bringing the total value of the collection to $922 million. (about Rs 7,142 crore).

SO WHAT KIND OF ART DID BIDDERS GET THEIR HAND ON?

Among the 65 works of art, here are some of the most popular that bidders fought for.

MAY 2022 LOT

1. Sigmar Polke’s “Plastic Tubs” sell for Rs 46 crore. Untitled #11 retails for Rs 49 crore.

2. Untitled #11 retails for Rs 49 crore.

4. Early Morning Happiness sells for Rs 76 crore.

5. ‘Untitled, 1961’ by Willem De Kooning sells for Rs 131 crore.

6. Andy Warhol’s “Self Portrait” retails for Rs 144 crore.

7. Seascape by Gerhard Richter retails for Rs 232 crore.

8. Untitled by Mark Rothko retails for Rs 371 crore.

NOVEMBER 2021 BUNDLE

1. Jeff Koons sculpture ‘Aqualung’ sold for Rs 116 crore.

2. Pablo Picasso figurine sold for Rs 201 crore

3. Andy Warhol’s ‘Sixteen Jackies’ sold for Rs 263 crore.

4. Agnes Martin’s ‘Nine Marilyns’ sold for Rs 363 crore.

5. “Untitled” by Cy Twombly sold for Rs 456 crore.

6. Jackson Pollock ‘Black Paintings’ sold for Rs 471 crore.

7. Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture sold for Rs 606 crore.

8. Mark Rothko’s painting “No.7” sold for Rs 638 crore.

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