Art collection auctioned at Sotheby's as part of divorce fetches £500million

A Sigmar Polke painting auctioned as part of the Macklowe Collection sold for $21.5million. Credit: Sotheby's

A collection of artworks sold as part of a divorce ruling has raised £503million at auction in New York.

The items had been acquired by real estate mogul Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda. A judge had ordered them to sell the collection and split the proceeds during their 2018 divorce trial. The first of two lots went under the hammer at Sotheby’s on Monday, comprising of 35 works by artists including Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol. The highest selling piece was a Mark Rothko painting, ‘No. 7’, which sold for $82.5 million - the second-highest price for a work by the late abstract artist.

A sculpture by Albert Giacometti, was the second highest selling piece achieving $78.4 million, followed by a Jackson Pollock painting which more than doubled its estimate reaching a sale price of $61.2 million, a new artist record.

The Albert Giacometti sculpture (left) sold for $78.4million and 'Nine Marilyns' by Andy Warhol sold for $47million. Credit: Sotheby's

The auction house said the sale of The Macklowe Collection had been highly anticipated, with "fresh-to-market masterpieces" by the most important artists of the last 80 years. 

"The Macklowe Collection stands in a league of its own as the greatest collection of modern and contemporary art ever to come to the market," Sotheby's owner Patrick Drahi commented.

Thirty more sought-after works will be auctioned at Sotheby's in May 2022.