A nasty, high-profile divorce leads to Sotheby's most expensive art sale ever. For $922 mn

Sotheby's held its highest-priced auction in its history, thanks to a high-profile divorce between Harry & Linda Macklowe. Here are 16 of the 65 prized art pieces that bidders fought to get their hands on.

 |  3-minute read |   18-05-2022
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The last 6 months have been monumental for the art auction house Sotheby's, as it knocked off its own record of auctioning most expensive art sale ever at USD 922 million. Sotheby's has been busy handling attention from art lovers all over the globe, thanks to the high-profile divorce of the Macklowes. 


Harry and Linda Macklowe are a high-profile couple from New York who got a divorce in 2016. 

647_051822115504.jpgHarry and Linda Macklowe. Photo: Getty Images

If you are an art fanatic or have seen New York's tall skyscrapers, you might have have heard of Harry Macklowe from New York. Harry is a real-estate billionaire. Like many rich folks, he and his wife invested in many art pieces over their 57 years of marriage. But when they got a divorce, the court ordered the paintings to be auctioned off and the amount to be split between the two

As they say, someone's loss is another's gain.  


Thanks to a 2018 court order, art lovers around the world got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get their hands on the priceless collection of the Macklowes, that was meticulously curated by Linda Macklowe. The couple had curated about 65 art pieces in total which were to be sold through Sotheby's.

Sotheby's had initially estimated the paintings to be worth $700 million. That is about Rs 5,424 crore

The court ordered all of their spectacular art pieces to be sold off in two parts. The first part consisted of 35 paintings and was auctioned in November 2021 while the second part consisted of the remaining 30 paintings and was auctioned in May 2022. 

The first part of the auction made record sales, as all 35 paintings of the first lot were sold for a total of $676 million (about Rs 5,236 crore). 

The second part of the auction also made news because the 30 paintings sold for a total of $246 million (about Rs 1,905 crore), thus taking the total value of the collection to $922 million (about Rs 7,142 crore).  


Of the 65 art pieces, here are some of the most popular ones the bidders fought hard to get hold of. 

MAY 2022 LOT

1. Sigmar Polke's 'Plastic Tubs' sells for Rs 46 crore. Untitled #11 sells for Rs 49 crore.

2. Untitled #11 sells for Rs 49 crore. 

 3. Willem De Kooning's ‘Untitled XIII’ sells for Rs 69 crore.

 4. Early Morning Happiness sells for Rs 76 crore.

5. Willem De Kooning's 'Untitled, 1961' sells for Rs 131 crore.

6. Andy Warhol's ‘Self Portrait’ sells for Rs 144 crore. 

7. Gerhard Richter’s Seascape sells for Rs 232 crore.

8. Mark Rothko’s Untitled sells for Rs 371 crore.


1. Jeff Koons's sculpture ‘Aqualung’ sold for Rs 116 crore.

2. Pablo Picasso's figure sold for Rs 201 crore

3. Andy Warhol's ‘Sixteen Jackies’ sold for Rs 263 crore.

4. Agnes Martin's ‘Nine Marilyns’ sold for Rs 363 crore.

5. Cy Twombly's ‘Untitled’ sold for Rs 456 crore.

6. Jackson Pollock ‘Black Paintings’ sold for Rs 471 crore.

7. Alberto Giacometti's sculpture sold for Rs 606 crore.

8. Mark Rothko's painting ‘No.7’ sold for Rs 638 crore. 


Akshata Kamath Akshata Kamath @akshispublished

Akshata Kamath is a Digital Storyteller at DailyO. She loves to simplify Finance, Business, Healing and History.

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