Sotheby's Sale of The Macklowe Collection

Sotheby's Sale of The Macklowe Collection | Source: Artnet News

Picasso, Warhol & Pollock: The A$918m Sotheby’s Sale of The Macklowe Collection

At Sothebys New York on November 15, The Macklowe Collection realised a total of over A$918 million on art masterpieces from some of the most important artists of the last 80 years.

The 35-lot sale includes fresh-to-market pieces from Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Pablo Picasso, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol to name a few. The auction represents the biggest test we’ve seen in the high-end art market since pre-pandemic times.

The staggering collective price of A$918 million was realised on an estimate of just over A$543 million, making it the most valuable sale in Sotheby’s history. The auction shows not much has changed with new artist records and many pieces doubling its low estimate. The collection acquired by real-estate Tycoon Harry Macklowe and his now ex-wife Linda over the course of half a century represents a love and understanding of quality artwork.

Mark Rothko – No. 7

Estimate: A$95m – A$122m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$112m

In 1951 Rothko created just 18 paintings. This painting of three luminous and distinct bands of colour was one of them, defining his signature style of abstraction and mature mode of artistic expression. Standing at over seven feet in height, the painting has featured in several major exhibitions over the years and was previously owned by art collector, Sarah Campbell Blaffer.

Mark Rothko - No. 7
Mark Rothko – No. 7 | Source: Sothebys

Alberto Giacometti – Le Nez

Estimate: A$95m – A$122m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$106.5m

The Swiss artist is regarded as the most important sculptor of the twentieth century. His haunting post-World War II sculpture of a bronze head with an extremely long, narwhal-like nose, titled Le Nez, was created in 1949. Giacometti was well known for reimagining existing pieces and this artwork is based on the first iteration of Le Nez created in plaster in 1947.

Alberto Giacometti - Le Nez
Alberto Giacometti Le Nez | Source: Sothebys

Jackson Pollock – Number 17, 1951

Estimate: A$34m – A$61m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$83m

Number 17, 1951 belongs to a series of black enamel paintings that Jackson Pollock executed in 1951 and 1952. It represents Pollocks abstract delivery of the iconic all-over drip paintings while hinting at figuration. The painting was previously acquired by esteemed collector S.I. Newhouse before entering the Macklowe Collection in 1999.

Jackson Pollock - Number 17, 1951
Jackson Pollock – Number 17, 1951 | Source: Sothebys

Cy Twombly – Untitled

Estimate: A$54m – A$81m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$80m

Created in 2007, Cy Twombly’s painting shows an unrestrained expression of colour, gesture and motif. Stretching over 18 feet in length, the piece is part of his six large-scale paintings from A Scattering of Blossoms, originally created from an exhibition at the Collection Lambert in Avignon, France.

Cy Twombly - Untitled
Cy Twombly – Untitled | Source: Sothebys

Andy Warhol – Nine Marilyns

Estimate: A$54m – A$81m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$64m

Nine Marilyns from 1962 is a silkscreen depicting a mesmeric black and white portrait of Monroe repeated nine times. The piece is an immediately recognisable example of Andy Warhol’s celebrated artwork. The subject, Marilyn Monroe encapsulated Warhol’s intrigue with the themes of mass-media, celebrity, and death. A publicity photograph of Monroe from the 1953 film Niagara is the source of the print, one of only two in private collection.

Andy Warhol - Nine Marilyns
Andy Warhol – Nine Marilyns | Source: Sothebys

Andy Warhol – Sixteen Jackies

Estimate: A$20m – A$27m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$46m

Warhol’s screen-print of Jackie Kennedy combines two of the artist’s most popular themes: the tragedy of death and the immortality of celebrity. Sixteen Jackies was originally included as part of the 24 Jackies Warhol featured in his solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia in 1965. The same year the piece was acquired by collectors David and Gerry Pincus where it remained until 2006 upon entering the Macklowe Collection.

Andy Warhol - Sixteen Jackies
Andy Warhol – Sixteen Jackies | Source: Sothebys

Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild

Estimate: A$27m – A$40m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$44.8m

Painted in the early 1990s, Abstraktes Bild is widely considered a piece at the forefront of the abstract art movement of the last fifty years. The visually striking painting is an intense combination of colours pulsating with energy.

Gerhard Richter - Abstraktes Bild
Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild | Source: Sothebys

Pablo Picasso – Figure

Estimate: A$20m – A$34m
Lot Sold: Approx. A$35.7m

In 1928 Picasso conceived a model for Figure (Projet pour un monument à Guillaume Apollinaire) when submitting a proposal for a monument to the French poet and friend, Guillaume Apollinaire. It wasn’t until 1962 that Picasso returned to the work collaborating with sculpture Julio Gonzalez to construct a metal work based on his drawings for the sculpture.

Pablo Picasso - Figure
Pablo Picasso – Figure | Source: Sothebys

The sale of The Macklowe Collection will continue in May 2022.

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