A trove of artwork amassed by real estate tycoon Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda during their nearly six-decade marriage brought in a combined $922.2 million at Sotheby’s over the last six months, setting a record for the most expensive art collection to ever sell at auction.
The 30-lot second half of the Macklowe Collection—sold at auction on Monday—was estimated to bring in around $200 million but wrapped up with $246.1 million including fees, Sotheby’s said.
The first auction in November brought in a record $676 million for 35 pieces, marking the most valuable Sotheby’s auction in its 277-year history.
Combined, the two sales surpassed the $832 million record set by the late banker David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy in 2018, when their collection was auctioned off for charity.
The last 30 pieces of the Macklowes’ modern and contemporary collection included landmark pieces by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Jean Dubuffet and Willem de Kooning that the couple collected over their almost six-decade marriage.
Rothko’s “Untitled” painting from 1960—which had never before been displayed in public before the sale—fetched $48 million and was the most expensive piece of artwork auctioned Monday.
Another star of the sale was one of Warhol’s final works: A self-portrait that was completed just months before the artist’s death in 1987 that sold for $18.7 million.
Macklowe is often reported to be a billionaire, but in 2019, Forbes estimated the couple had a net worth of between $900 million and $1.1 billion before the divorce–a figure that included their massive art collection. In 2018, a judge ordered that the couple split their fortune in half, leaving each with between $450 million and $550 million at the time, Forbes estimated.
The Macklowes collected pieces by the world’s elite contemporary and modern artists to amass what Sotheby’s called the finest art collection to ever come to auction. The Macklowes divorced in 2016, and during divorce proceedings, the former couple’s legal teams went back and forth about the value of the art collection they’d amassed over 57 years of marriage. While the expert Harry Macklowe hired valued the works at $788 million, Linda Macklowe’s expert placed its worth at $625 million. Both fell short of the $937.5 million figure from Christie’s, which valued the collection for a 2015 insurance estimate.