The Macklowe collection is the highest sold body of fine art works in history. Selling for a total of $922 Million, it overtook the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection that sold for $835.1 Million in 2018.
Harry B. Macklowe is an American real estate developer and investor, settled in New York. Linda Macklowe herself is a former curator and current member of the Board of Trustees for the Guggenheim Museum in New York, therefore it’s not surprise that the collection featured work from such influential artists. Following their divorce, it was settled that the artworks would all be auctioned. The couple could not agree on valuations for the paintings, which they had accumulated together throughout their nearly 60 years of marriage, so a judge ordered the sale. To prevent the market from being overrun with too many significant pieces by the same artists at once, Sotheby’s chose to spread the collection over two seasons.
Sotheby’s auctioned the collection in two lots, with the first batch being in sold in November 2021. The initial auction saw 35 pieces from some of the most important artists from the 20th Century generating a total of $676 Million. Artwork from the likes of Mark Rothko, Gerard Richter, Jackson Pollock, and Jeff Koons made up the Macklowe collection.
The second lot of art sold was sold in May 2022, achieving a total of $246.1 Million, resulting in a sale of $922.2 Million for the entire collection.
Highlights from the auction include a self-portrait by Andy Warhol, selling for $18.7 Million, living more in the moment with its camouflage pattern. The night was productive for German art as Gerhard Richter’s seascape, ‘Seestück’ from 1975, which was valued between $25 million and $35 million, sold for $30.2 million.
The sole female-authored pieces at this evening’s auction, two Minimalist paintings by Agnes Martin, spurred competitions that profited from the reintroduction of in-person bidding, which for such an esteemed collection of works aided in pushing sales. This was highlighted by the delicate blue and yellow 2001 painting ‘Early Morning Happiness’, which brought in $9.8 million, more than double its high estimate of $3.5 million.
The Macklowe Collection, the outcome of decades of investigation and desire, is motivated by an inherent awareness of quality and the perseverance to seek the very best work from each artist, resulting in a body of unrivalled significance. This is certainly a milestone within the fine art market, and a sign that 20th and 21st Century artists remain at the top, highlighting the greats in the genre.