30 blockbuster masterpieces from Macklowe Collection’s second sale to net US$200m

American real estate tycoon, Harry Macklowe's high-profile divorce from his former wife released their blue-chip Modern and Contemporary Art Collection on the market. In November 2021, and as part of the first of two court-ordered sales; 35 of 65 artworks were auctioned at Sotheby’s New York. It achieved a sale total of US$676 million dollars – the most valuable single collector auction in history.

On 16 May 2022, the Macklowe Collection's second sale will be auctioned in New York. The remaining 30 lots will comprise of works by Western Masters – such as Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol and Alberto Giacometti. Their total estimate is reportedly US$200 million dollars. Adding to the first sale, the 65 artworks’ sale total could reach US$876 million dollars – exceeding The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller Sale at Christie's New York in 2018.

Click here for the first part of The Macklowe Collection Sale article.   

Harry and Linda

Rothko's Untitled (1960) is the top lot in the Macklowe Collection's second sale

Harry Macklowe is an American tycoon, with investments in real estate development in New York. At its peak, his net worth was as high as US$2 billion dollars. In 2016, his former wife, Linda, filed to divorce after 50 years of marriage.

The Collection of Harry and Linda were put up for auction, because the two parties failed to agree on the valuation of most of the art collection in the divorce case. A judge in New York ordered the sale of the Collection and to split the proceeds. After fierce competition with its main rival, the artworks were ultimately consigned to Sotheby's.

Like the first sale, Sotheby's placed an auction house or third-party guarantee on all lots in Macklowe Collection's second auction. 

Rothko's No. 7 (centre right) was part of the Macklowe Collection's first sale, and exhibited in Hong Kong in 2021

A total of 65 artworks make up the Macklowe Collection's first and second sales. The last time a private art collection with such magnitude was auctioned was The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller Sale in 2018. At the time, Christie's held a wide range of auctions for the third generation of the Rockefeller family – David (1915-2017). They featured Western Masters such as Picasso, Monet and Matisse. In the end, it amassed US$835.1 million dollars in total.

In contrast, if the second part of the Macklowe Collection fetches US$200 million dollars – the sale total would surpass the Rockefeller Collection Sale.

Lot 8 | Mark Rothko | Untitled, Oil on canvas

Created in 1960
178.4 x 189.2 cm

  • Estate of the artist
  • Pace Gallery, New York
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in June 1983

Estimate: US$35,000,000 – 50,000,000

In the first part of the auction in November, Rothko's No. 7 painting (1951) performed the most brilliantly – which sold for US$82.4 million dollars. In this upcoming second edition, the American abstract artist’s work also has the highest estimate. His Untitled (1960) work will be auctioned and is estimated between US$35 and 50 million dollars.

Both Untitled and No. 7 are Rothko's iconic rectangular colour field paintings. The bright, vivid colours of the 1950s were replaced by a darker colour palette as seen in this present painting – using deep red, purple and blue hues.

This work is one of 19 paintings by Rothko created in 1960 which were exhibited. Nearly half of which reside in Museum Collections – such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Lot 5 | Gerhard Richter | Seestuck (Seascape), Oil on canvas

Created in 1975
199.4 x 300.4 cm

  • Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne
  • Private Collection, Switzerland
  • Galerie Art Focus, Zurich
  • Private Collection, Seoul
  • Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in June 1998

Estimate: US$25,000,000 – 35,000,000

In November 2021, Richter’s Seestuck (Seascape) artwork appeared at the Macklowe Collection's first sale. In the end, it was reserved for the upcoming sale in May. Making its reappearance, it is estimated between US$25 and 35 million dollars.

Inspired by German Romanticist painter, Caspar David Friedrich; this present work captures Richter’s fascination with clouds and seascapes. Drawing on his concurrent photography practice, Richter bases his Seascapes on source images from his own archive, but through his remarkable painterly prowess pushes the horizon further into transcendent abstraction.

This work is one of more than 20 series of paintings by Richter created between the late 1960s and 1990s. Nearly half of them were exhibited in prominent institutional collections – such as Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris; and the National Gallery, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.  

Lot 12 | Andy Warhol | Self Portrait, Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas

Created in 1986
203.2 x 203.5 cm

  • Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in April 1989

Estimate: US$15,000,000 – 20,000,000

Andy Warhol's silkscreen painting, Nine Marilyns, garnered US$47.3 million dollars in the first part of the Macklowe Collection Sale. In the second part, Warhol’s self-portrait – created a few months before his death in 1987 – is estimated between US$15 and 20 million dollars.

One of Warhol’s last works, it was part of his Fright Wig painting series. Despite being one of the most famous artists of his time, Warhol remained a private individual – shielded by the characters he played and the masks he wore. Other self-portraits of similar size from the Fright Wig series are collected by various prestigious institutional collections around the world – including the Tate Gallery, London, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.

As for this self-portrait, it was exhibited twice at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. The first time was in the 1986 exhibition, Self-Portraits; while the second time was in the 1996 exhibition, Vanitas: Skulls and Self Portraits, 1976-1986.

Andy Warhol's Nine Marilyns (1962) | Sotheby's New York, 2021 | Sold: US$47.3 million

Lot 20 | Alberto Giacometti | Stele II, Bronze

Created in 1961
Height: 165.3 cm

  • Galerie Maeght, Paris
  • Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris
  • Eleonor Bruce, Huttington, New York (acquired in February 1960)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Louis D. Cohen, New York (sold: Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, October 23, 1974, Lot 265)
  • Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (acquired at the above sale)
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner, on January 19, 1983

Estimate: US$7,000,000 – 10,000,000

In 2021, the first Macklowe Collection Sale saw strong bidding from Asian collectors. Most notably, Justin Sun, founder of cryptocurrency platform, Tron; acquired Giacometti’s sculpture, Le Nez (The Nose), for US$78.3 million dollars.

In the second part of the sale, there is another Giacometti sculpture called Stele II. Estimated between US$7 and 10 million dollars, the work is based on the Swiss-Italian sculptor’s favoured subject, Diego – his younger brother. This present bronze is the second of three versions of the bust of Diego on an elevated base.

In 1962, Giacometti featured Steles I, II and III at the Venice Biennale – which emphasises this series' importance.

Giacometti's Le Nez sculpture (1965) | Sotheby's New York, 2021 | Sold: US$78.3 million 

Other highlight lots:

Lot 7 | Cy Twombly | Synopsis of a Battle, Oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas

Created in 1968
128.3 by 149.2 cm

  • Sergio Tosi, Milan
  • Rachel Adler, Caracas
  • James Goodman, New York
  • Galerie Folker Skulima, Berlin / The Mayor Gallery, London
  • O.K. Harris, New York
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in January 1979

Estimate: US$12,000,000 – 18,000,000

Lot 9 | Willem de Kooning | Untitled, Oil on canvas

Created in 1961
203.2 x 178.1 cm

  • Modarco S.A. Collection, Geneva (acquired from the artist in 1973)
  • M. Knoedler & Co., New York
  • Private Collection, New York
  • Pace Gallery, New York
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1983

Estimate: US$7,000,000 – 10,000,000

Lot 16 | Willem de Kooning | Untitled XIII, Oil on canvas

Created in 1984
177.8 by 203.2 cm

  • Anthony d’Offay, London
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in April 1987

Estimate: US$7,000,000 – 10,000,000

Lot 11 | Brice Marden | Elements IV, Oil on canvas; in eight parts

Created in 1983-1984
214 by 184.2 cm

  • Pace Gallery, New York
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in March 1985

Estimate: US$6,000,000 – 8,000,000

Lot 18 | Mark Grotjahn | Untitled (Side Swiped and Carved Face 41.32), Oil on cardboard mounted on linen

Created 2009-2010
269.9 by 179.1 cm

  • Anton Kern Gallery, New York
  • Acquired by the present owner from the above in April 2011

Estimate: US$6,000,000 – 8,000,000

Auction Details:

Auction House: Sotheby’s New York
Sale: The Macklowe Collection
Date: 16 May 2022 | 7pm (New York local time)
Number of lots: 30