Rothko, Warhol, Richter to Lead Second Part of Macklowe Sale at Sotheby’s

Following a blockbuster $676.1 million sale of works owned by Harry and Linda Macklowe in November that helped kickstart the art market during a mid-pandemic slump, the second half of the divorcing real estate developers’ storied art collection will be sold at Sotheby’s this May. Works by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and Gerhard Richter will highlight this grouping of 30 works. The evening sale will take place on May 16 at Sotheby’s New York headquarters, and is expected to bring in $200 million.

Estimated at $35 million–$50 million, an untitled Rothko painting from 1960 seems poised become one of the most expensive artworks sold at auction this spring. It has never been exhibited publicly.

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Warhol’s Vanitas: Skulls and Self Portraits by Andy Warhol (1962), a large-scale self-portrait featuring the Pop artist’s face overlaid with a camouflage patterning, is estimated at $15 million–$20 million. Richter’s monumental canvas Seestück (Seascape), 1975, a blurry view of an ocean horizon, is estimated at $25 million–$35 million. Giacometti’s Diego sur stèle II (1968), a bronze sculpture depicting his brother Diego, is estimated at $7 million–$8 million. Works by Jeff Koons, Agnes Martin, Willem de Kooning, Sigmar Polke, Mark Grotjahn, and Jean Dubuffet will be included in the sale.

Sotheby’s chairman and worldwide head of business development for global fine art, Mari-Claudia Jimenez, said the result achieved in the November sale—which far surpassed its $439.4 million estimate—was encouraging. Amid what she described as “a deep market for masterpieces,” Jimenez predicted that this second Macklowe would also exceed expectations.

Combined, the two Macklowe sale hold the highest estimate ever placed on a single-owner collection at auction. That estimate rivals the one for the Rockefeller collection sale at Christie’s in 2018, which made $832 million, against an estimate of $500 million.

In 2018, during a contentious divorce trial, a New York judge ordered Harry, founder of Macklowe Properties Inc, and his wife Linda, a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim Museum, to sell 65 artworks from their $2 billion fortune and to split the proceeds. Those works were said to be worth $700 million. The couple started collecting in the late 1950s, and had over the course of several decades acquired more than 150 works.


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