April 14, 2022

Linda and Harry Macklowe's Art Collection

During their marriage, Linda and Harry Macklowe established a world-class collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, boasting a range of the most iconic artists from the twentieth century to date. 

Born in 1937 to a Jewish family in New York, USA, Harry Macklowe first trained as a property broker, and shortly after, pursued a career as a real estate developer and investor. In 1959, Harry married Linda Burg, however, after 57 years, the couple divorced. Today, Harry Macklowe's net worth is estimated to be between $900 million and $1.1 billion.

Following a long-standing dispute over the divorce settlement, the Macklowes were forced to sell their collection, splitting the sale into two halves. In November 2021, the first half of the collection sold for $676.1 million, whilst the second half, estimated to be worth more than $200 million, is yet to go on sale later this year in May. 

The first sale saw the creation of new records for Agnes Martin, whose Untitled #44 sold for $17.7 million, Robert Irwin, whose Untitled sold for $8.3 million, Michael Heizer, whose Track Painting sold for $1.1 million, and Jackson Pollock, whose Number 7, 1951 sold for $61 million, setting a record for his Black Paintings series.  

Selling for a total of $82.4 million, No.7 was painted at the height of Mark Rothko’s career in 1951 and is considered one of the artist’s finest works. Painted in three luminous bands of pink, ochre, and orange-red, No.7 measures over seven feet in height and epitomises Rothko’s style during this period.

Cast in 1965, Alberto Giacometti’s Le Nez, sold for a total of $78.3 million and was amongst the highlights of the auction. Giacometti first conceived of Le Nez sculptures in 1947 and continued to develop and work with them for nineteen years. Suspended by the head from within a metal frame, Le Nez relays the fragility of the human condition, perhaps in part due to its likeness to a gun.

Cy Twombly’s Untitled was another star of the auction, fetching a total of $58.8 million. Painted in the last years of his career, Untitled was one of a series initially conceived for an exhibition at the Collection Lambert in Avignon. Inspired by the representation of blossom in the art and poetry of the Edo period in Japan, Untitled depicts a series of peonies cascading across the canvas in a rich and dynamic red tone. Today, this series is amongst some of Twombly’s most esteemed works, whilst other works from the same series are included in collections such as the Broad, Los Angeles and the Brandhorst Collection, Munich.

In the second half of the May sale, another painting by Rothko is set to sell with an estimate of $35 – 50 million. In contrast to Rothko’s vibrant and energetic use of colour in No.7, Untitled was painted in 1960, a decade later when the palette of the artist became more introspective and atmospheric in tone. Untitled is comprised of three black bands painted across a deep purple background, featuring tones of burgundy, charcoal, black, and navy.

Painted in 1961, Willem de Kooning’s Untitled is another Abstract Expressionist highlight of the second sale. In this dynamic work, de Kooning’s beige, sandy–orange tones draw direct inspiration from the landscape at Springs, a small East Hamptons seaside town where de Kooning permanently relocated in 1963.

Other lots that will go on sale in the second auction include Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait from 1986. Exhibited only once in public, this silkscreen image of the artist, obscured by a camouflage of blue, turquoise, navy and yellow was part of Warhol’s ‘Fright Wig’ series, created only months before his death in 1987.

Jean Dubuffet’s Grand Nu Charbonneux (1944) is yet another of the highly anticipated lots to go on sale. Priced with an estimate of $4-6 million, Grand Nu Charbonneux is both the first full-scale nude created by Dubuffet and the only work by the artist to be included in the Macklowe’s collection. Despite criticism that has dubbed the Grand Nu Charbonneux as a harsh and crude representation of the female nude, Dubuffet claimed that the rendering was an attempt to portray the figure as an ancient fertility goddess.

Born in 1937 to a Jewish family in New York, USA, Harry Macklowe first trained as a property broker, and shortly after, pursued a career as a real estate developer and investor. In 1959, Harry married Linda Burg, however, after 57 years, the couple divorced. Today, Harry Macklowe's net worth is estimated to be between $900 million and $1.1 billion.

Following a long-standing dispute over the divorce settlement, the Macklowes were forced to sell their collection, splitting the sale into two halves. In November 2021, the first half of the collection sold for $676.1 million, whilst the second half, estimated to be worth more than $200 million, is yet to go on sale later this year in May. 

The first sale saw the creation of new records for Agnes Martin, whose Untitled #44 sold for $17.7 million, Robert Irwin, whose Untitled sold for $8.3 million, Michael Heizer, whose Track Painting sold for $1.1 million, and Jackson Pollock, whose Number 7, 1951 sold for $61 million, setting a record for his Black Paintings series.  

Selling for a total of $82.4 million, No.7 was painted at the height of Mark Rothko’s career in 1951 and is considered one of the artist’s finest works. Painted in three luminous bands of pink, ochre, and orange-red, No.7 measures over seven feet in height and epitomises Rothko’s style during this period.

Cast in 1965, Alberto Giacometti’s Le Nez, sold for a total of $78.3 million and was amongst the highlights of the auction. Giacometti first conceived of Le Nez sculptures in 1947 and continued to develop and work with them for nineteen years. Suspended by the head from within a metal frame, Le Nez relays the fragility of the human condition, perhaps in part due to its likeness to a gun.

Cy Twombly’s Untitled was another star of the auction, fetching a total of $58.8 million. Painted in the last years of his career, Untitled was one of a series initially conceived for an exhibition at the Collection Lambert in Avignon. Inspired by the representation of blossom in the art and poetry of the Edo period in Japan, Untitled depicts a series of peonies cascading across the canvas in a rich and dynamic red tone. Today, this series is amongst some of Twombly’s most esteemed works, whilst other works from the same series are included in collections such as the Broad, Los Angeles and the Brandhorst Collection, Munich.

In the second half of the May sale, another painting by Rothko is set to sell with an estimate of $35 – 50 million. In contrast to Rothko’s vibrant and energetic use of colour in No.7, Untitled was painted in 1960, a decade later when the palette of the artist became more introspective and atmospheric in tone. Untitled is comprised of three black bands painted across a deep purple background, featuring tones of burgundy, charcoal, black, and navy.

Painted in 1961, Willem de Kooning’s Untitled is another Abstract Expressionist highlight of the second sale. In this dynamic work, de Kooning’s beige, sandy–orange tones draw direct inspiration from the landscape at Springs, a small East Hamptons seaside town where de Kooning permanently relocated in 1963.

Other lots that will go on sale in the second auction include Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait from 1986. Exhibited only once in public, this silkscreen image of the artist, obscured by a camouflage of blue, turquoise, navy and yellow was part of Warhol’s ‘Fright Wig’ series, created only months before his death in 1987.

Jean Dubuffet’s Grand Nu Charbonneux (1944) is yet another of the highly anticipated lots to go on sale. Priced with an estimate of $4-6 million, Grand Nu Charbonneux is both the first full-scale nude created by Dubuffet and the only work by the artist to be included in the Macklowe’s collection. Despite criticism that has dubbed the Grand Nu Charbonneux as a harsh and crude representation of the female nude, Dubuffet claimed that the rendering was an attempt to portray the figure as an ancient fertility goddess.

Written by
Miles Knapp
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