art

Blue-Chip Art From Bitter Macklowe Divorce Brings $676 Million at Sotheby’s – The New York Times

Summary

The divorcing billionaire and his wife fought over it. Auction houses fought over it. And on Monday night, bidders fought over it.

An impressive part of the collection amassed over five decades by the real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his former wife Linda, an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, brought a total of $676.1 million, in a testament to the enduring strength at the top of the art market. Brooke Lam…….

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The divorcing billionaire and his wife fought over it. Auction houses fought over it. And on Monday night, bidders fought over it.

An impressive part of the collection amassed over five decades by the real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his former wife Linda, an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, brought a total of $676.1 million, in a testament to the enduring strength at the top of the art market. Brooke Lampley, a Sotheby’s executive, called it “the most valuable single-owner auction ever staged.”

Auction-high prices were set for Jackson Pollock, whose “Number 17, 1951,” from his Black Paintings series, sold for $61 million with fees, and for Agnes Martin, whose “Untitled #44,” featuring slender bands of subtle color, sold for $17.7 million.

Among the evening’s top lots were Alberto Giacometti’s craggy 1964 sculpture “Le Nez” (“The Nose”), which sold for $78.4 million, above the $70 million estimate, and Mark Rothko’s luminous painting “No. 7,” from 1951, which sold for $82.5 million with fees to an unidentifiable Asian bidder. It was the second-highest auction price for a work by this Abstract Expressionist artist and exceeded its $70 million low estimate.

“It’s a strong market,” said Eugenio López Alonso, the collector and fruit juice heir, as he was leaving the sale on Monday. “Top quality always sells.”

The sale, the first of two parts — the second one is scheduled for May — was closely watched as a test of an art market that is slowly emerging from the pandemic. Monday night’s trove had been estimated at $400 million.

Auction sales have been looking for a boost, having declined 30 percent, to $17.6 billion in 2020 from $25.2 billion in 2019, according to the latest Art Market report, published by Art Basel and UBS, bringing the market to its lowest level in a decade.

The Macklowe Collection also signified a shot in the arm for a market that has suffered from a scarcity of top-quality inventory, with demand exceeding supply.

The 35 works offered on Monday evening — which ranged from postwar to contemporary, and which all sold — were among the fruits of the Macklowes’ acrimonious divorce proceedings, which resulted in a court-ordered auction.

The bidding was especially vigorous for lots including Philip Guston’s “Strong Light” in his signature pink tones ($24.4 million), and for Gerhard Richter’s vibrant painting “Abstraktes Bild” ($33 million).

The art dealer Andrew Fabricant said that Linda Macklowe was the main collector in the couple and that he had sold her many of the pieces in Monday’s sale.

“She had an abiding love for abstraction, but she also had a great eye for figuration,” Fabricant said. “Every single work in here is subtle and …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/arts/design/sothebys-macklowe-auction-rothko-warhol.html