Sotheby’s selling art treasures from divorced couple’s trove

LONDON – Artworks by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and other modern masters are going up for auction in a sale ordered by a U.S. court as part of a billionaire couple’s acrimonious divorce.

Sotheby’s auction house announced Friday that it will offer 30 works from the Macklowe Collection on May 16 in New York.

The works belonged to New York property developer Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda, who spent 40 years assembling a collection by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists, displaying many of them in their grand apartment in Manhattan’s Plaza building.

After they split in 2016, a judge ordered the collection sold as part of the divorce settlement. The pieces being auctioned in May are collectively valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sculptures by Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Jeff Koons are also among the works on offer in the sale, the second from the Macklowe Collection. The first sale of 35 artworks in November netted $676 million — the highest-ever total for a Sotheby’s auction.

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The November sale included a multicolored Rothko canvas, “No. 7,” that sold for $82.4 million, Jackson Pollock’s “Number 17,” which went for $61 million and Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns,” which fetched $47 million.

A public display of works from the May sale is planned at Sotheby’s in London from Tuesday until March 2. The items then are scheduled to go on tour to Palm Beach, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York ahead of the auction.

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