They say in the art business that large collections tend to go on sale when one of the three “D’s” occurs: divorce, debts or death, and this is what has past with the famous Macklowe Collection, which goes on sale tomorrow after a tumultuous divorce.
The Sotheby´s house in New York, which puts it up for sale, values it at 600 million dollars.
In the life of Harry Macklowe, one of the real estate moguls of New York, everything is disproportionate: He built the tallest and most controversial skyscraper, starred in the most expensive divorce in memory, and his collection of modern and contemporary art happens to be one of the most complete and most valued in the exclusive art world.
And besides, Macklowe, 84, has never been bothered by the scandal or the media exposure: in 2019 he lined one of his skyscrapers with two gigantic photos of him with his new love, French businesswoman Patricia Landeau, which for weeks It was the talk of New York, and with good reason: the ex-wife had booked a luxury apartment in that building and immediately got rid of it.
Divorce from Macklowe sums up by itself a good part of the passions that stir up New York: money, buildings, art and bedroom fights.
TWO JEWISH GUYS IN LOVE WITH ART
Harry Macklowe, from a wealthy but not wealthy New York Jewish family, he did not even finish his university studies: he liked to spend his time visiting galleries and discovering painters more than in the classrooms of the two art colleges in which he enrolled.
Very young, only 22 years old, he married Linda Burg, also Jewish, and also in love with art. They say that it was Linda’s nose that led them to discover talents or buy works of art before their authors were famous and expensive, and it was she who refused to sell, up to now.
In their 57 years of marriage they amassed an impressive collection that contains more masterpieces than many European museums: Giacometti, Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, Andy Warhol, De Kooning or Lucio Fontana are among their most outstanding works: several are valued between the 60s and 60s. the 90 million dollars.
The collection was disputed by several auction houses, but Sotheby’s won “the jackpot.” According to the artistic circles, Macklowe agreed with Sotheby’s a minimum price to be pocketed, whatever the auction result, because it needs liquidity, and has chosen this house for being the one that has best known how to adapt to the world of postcovid auctions, when millionaires bid online from Hong Kong or Dubai.
PASSION FOR SKYSCRAPERS
Macklowe showed great skills in the world of cement, and more specifically in skyscrapers, building or buying some of the most emblematic of New York City: the General Motors building, the Fifth Tower or 432 Park Avenue, defining landmarks of the famous skyline of the Big Apple.
In their own way, they have all broken records: General Motors (where Apple’s iconic glass cube is located) was the most expensive at the time Macklowe bought it in 2003, the Fifth Tower had the lookout point for a time. highest in Manhattan, while 432 Park Avenue (known as “the pencil”) for its thinness beat other marks, the criticism for its structural defects.
“The pencil” (425 meters), designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and built in 2019, it was for a time the tallest of New York in plant height, so much so that the Federal Aviation Administration had to give it its go-ahead. Buyers such as Jennifer López, one of the owners of the José Cuervo tequilas or the Saudi Sheikh Fawaz Alhokair (who paid $ 88 million) came to his ultra-luxury apartments.
But last September, a group of homeowners filed a complaint against Macklowe Properties for 1,500 structural defects: the whipping of the wind is unbearable in the heights, frequently breaks the elevators and makes the whole building vibrate, not to mention the water leaks. They ask for compensation of $ 125 million, according to Architectural Digest.
Controversies do not scare him, it seems that he grows on them. In 1985, he demolished four buildings in Times Square in the middle of the night where he wanted to build another skyscraper, hours before an order that would paralyze construction went into effect. He agreed to pay a $ 2 million fine and the matter was buried.
A DIVORCE WITH A SOLOMONIAN DISTRIBUTION
At 77 years old, Macklowe met the French businesswoman at a dinner Patricia Landeau, which is not exactly a twenty-year-old, because at that time she was 60 years old (although she looked much less). A parallel relationship arises until Linda Burg, the jilted wife, who had shared 57 years of marriage with Harry, files for divorce.
The fight for the numerous assets – buildings, paintings, yachts and other whims of the rich – was not easy, so much so that a judge ordered in December 2018 a Solomonic distribution of the properties (one billion for each), specifically mentioning that “his internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art” was to be considered ‘marital property’.
Only three months after that Macklowe he humiliated his ex-wife by placing in Tower 432 – the one with 1,500 structural defects – a gigantic photograph of him with his new wife. “My wife looks great, and I like that portrait of me,” he said of this “proclamation of love.” “If I own a building, why not hang a banner in my own house?”
And Linda Burg had to move from there.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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