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Sotheby’s has won the right to sell the Macklowe collection, one of the largest art collections on the market.
The trove, which the auction house expects will sell for more than US$600 million, includes works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko.
The announcement Thursday marks the end of a fierce battle by large auction houses — including Christie’s and Phillips — that had been competing for the sale. The collection will sell in two parts, first in November, and the second in May next year.
“It’s one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art in the world,” said Charles Stewart, Sotheby’s chief executive officer.
The sale was prompted by the acrimonious divorce of New York real estate billionaire Harry Macklowe and his now estranged wife Linda. A judge ordered the octogenarian couple to sell their 65 most valuable pieces and split the proceeds because they couldn’t agree on the value of the art. Valuations in one instance differed by US$30 million.
Major single-owner sales initially remained on the sidelines during the pandemic because of market volatility. That’s begun to change. In May, the late Anne Marion’s art collection sold for about US$150 million at Sotheby’s in New York, and in November, the US$200 million collection of the oil baron Edwin Cox will hit the auction block at Christie’s.