Art auction after divorce hits record BRL 4.5 billion

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More than three years after the completion of the divorce from Harry Macklowe, a real estate developer in New York and his wife Linda, the art collection of the ex-couple became the most expensive ever sold at auction, reaching US$ 922.2 million (around BRL 4.5 billion ) in two different sales.

An initial batch of 35 artworks was auctioned last November, including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. At the time, a work by abstract painter Mark Rothko raised US$ 82.5 million (about R$ 402 million) while the work “Number 17, 1951”, by Jackson Pollock, sold for US$ 61 million. $297.7 million), setting a new record for the artist’s work.

In the second sale, on Monday (16) at night, the final 30 works were sold for US$ 246.1 million (about R$ 1.2 billion), with pieces by Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Willem de Kooning and Agnes Martin.

Highlights included another untitled painting by Rothko, which went for $48 million, and a self-portrait by Warhol, for $18.7 million. ) of dollars. At the end of the night, it was declared that this had been a “white gloves sale”, meaning that all the works had been sold.

“It’s a collection that has never been moved or touched,” Grégoire Billault, president of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, said at a press event announcing the two-part auction last September. “Often, when we have collections for sale, many pieces have already been sold, or some works are donated to museums; others are given to family members.”

The Macklowe collection surpassed the previous record for the most value for a single art collection, which was held by the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection, which went for $835.1 million at Christie’s in 2018.

Harry and Linda Macklowe were in their 20s when they married in 1959 and have since accumulated significant assets, including a $72 million apartment, a yacht and various properties. business, according to court documents. The two began collecting art shortly after their marriage.

In 2018, during divorce hearings, a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the Macklowes to sell 65 works of art from their collection and split the proceeds. The decision came after experts hired by the couple provided very different assessments of the artwork’s value. Valuations for “La Nez”, an existential sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, for example, ranged from US$30 million (approximately R$146.4 million).

The court ruling created a battle between Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips auction houses. With a big name in the market, art dealer Michael Findlay delayed the decision in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to the website Artnet.

Giacometti’s sculpture ended up selling for US$78 million (about R$380.7 million), the second highest value in the first part of the auction. Elsewhere, Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns” (one of the pop artist’s famous serial prints made from Marilyn Monroe) fetched $47 million and a sculpture by Picasso in honor of the poet. French Apollinaire reached US$ 26 million (about R$ 126.9 million).

At a virtual press event announcing the sale in September, Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart called the Macklowe collection “one of the most significant and museum-quality modern and contemporary art that has ever entered the market.”

Stewart’s prediction came true. And he added: “This sale will make history as one of the defining moments in the art market.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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