Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips invited to bid for $700m Macklowe collection

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Harry and Linda Macklowe. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/A. Scott.

An art collection valued between $700m and $800m and owned by Harry Macklowe (billionaire founder of Macklowe Properties Inc.) and his former wife Linda Macklowe, is a step closer to coming to auction in New York this spring.

Their divorce is understood to have dragged on for years, with the battle spreading across several high-value assets – real estate in New York, the Hamptons and some yachts. Laura Drager, the presiding judge, ordered the sale of the couple’s 65 most-valuable pieces.  

Recently, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips were invited to see the works and submit proposals in February, according to a Bloomberg article. A date for the auction has not yet been set.

It will be a fun event in the spring,” Josh Schiller, a partner at Boies Schiller & Flexner who represents Harry Macklowe, told Bloomberg.

Various art media platforms report that the works are being sold due to differences over the valuations by the opposing sides – up to $30m in one case. Whatever the final figure, selling is in the Macklowes’ interest, as it will give them some liquidity amidst multiple-digit divorce costs.

Due to the divorce’s contentious nature, Michael Findlay, a director at Acquavella Galleries in New York, was appointed – in October last year – as a ‘receiver’ to sell the works on behalf of the Macklowes.  

The Macklowes – both octogenarians now – started acquiring their collection in1959, a collection that now includes more than150 works of art major artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Alberto Giacometti. 

Some of the highlights of the collection are Nine Marilyns by Andy Warhol, valued at $50m according to court documents, Vest with Aqualung (1985) by Jeff Koons, which previously sold at a Christie’s auction for $11.5m in 2014 and a Jackson Pollock worth up to $35m.

At the time of publication, neither Sotheby’s, Christie’s nor Michael Findlay provided comment to Private Art Investor.