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Preview: Harry Macklowe’s Collection up for Auction at Sotheby’s

Top priced works of art being auctioned this fall from all the auction houses

The art market continues its upward trajectory this fall, as a highly-anticipated group of sales in New York will offer up a slew of extraordinary, one-of-a-kind objects being sold by legendary collectors. Art industry insiders have already predicted that Fall 2021 would bring a record number of high-quality works, largely because sellers had been sidelined for most of 2020. True to form, the New York auction houses have secured important consignments of museum-quality “trophy works,” the quality of which has not been seen in recent years.

On November 15, Sotheby’s will auction off the Macklowe Collection, a group of 65 works expected to exceed $600 million, with stellar examples by Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti, Cy Twombly and Gerhard Richter. The Macklowe Collection was amassed over fifty years by the real-estate developer Harry Macklowe and his former wife, Linda (they divorced in 2016). Five of the top ten priciest works offered this fall are from the Macklowe Collection, including Mark Rothko’s No. 7 from 1951 and Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Le Nez. The Rothko is a particularly beautiful and luminous example of his floating “slab” paintings in pink, yellow and orange and is expected to exceed its pre-sale estimate of $70-90 million. The Macklowes were known to buy the best of the best, often paying top dollar for museum-quality works. Warhol’s Nine Marilyns, for example, is one of only two of the Nine Marilyns still in private hands; all the others are tucked away in museums. The Warhol is expected to exceed its pre-sale estimate of $40-60 million.

With a hefty estimate of $40-80 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s massive painting, The Guilt of Gold Teeth, is up for sale at Christie’s on November 9th. Measuring fourteen feet wide, this painting is already poised to be one of Basquiat’s top 10 most expensive works ever sold at auction. Basquiat has already generated $300 million at auction in the first six months of 2021, making him the most expensive artist after Picasso. Filled with cryptic symbols done in spray-paint and oilstick, the work features the Haitian voodoo god “Baron Samedi,” painted when Basquiat was 22 years old and struggling with his identity as a Black artist.

Christie’s will sell the Cox Collection on November 11, one of the finest groupings of Impressionist art in the world. The sale includes a trove of rarely seen masterworks by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and Gustave Caillebotte. Painted in 1876, the Caillebotte is an iconic presentation of a modernizing Paris, and is expected to exceed $50 million. It depicts the artist’s brother René as he gazes out of his apartment onto the boulevards below. Works by Van Gogh include his famous series of haystacks and another done shortly after his stay in a mental asylum, depicting the olive groves outside his window there. Van Gogh had suffered a mental breakdown a year earlier, during which he hallucinated and cut off part of his left ear.

As the world roars back to life after pandemic restrictions have begun to ease, it is clear that the global art market has emerged unscathed. Auction results are back to their pre-COVID levels and collectors are hungry for rare, museum-quality artworks. The fall auctions will demonstrate that collecting art remains an opportunity to purchase tangible assets that are also enriching and enjoyable — and very rarely — can rival even that of major museum collections.

Below are our top ten (plus one extra) picks for the highest priced works of art to be sold this fall from the various auctions:

1) Mark Rothko, No. 7, 1951. Estimate: $70-90 Million, Sotheby’s, Macklowe Collection on November 15 2021.

2) Alberto Giacometti, Le Nez, Conceived in 1947; this version conceived in 1949 and cast circa 1964. Estimate: $70-90 Million, Sotheby’s, Macklowe Collection on November 15, 2021.

3) Gustave Caillebotte, Jeune Homme à sa Fenêtre, 1876. Estimate: On Request (In excess of $50 Million), Christie’s, Cox Collection on November 11, 2021.

4) Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Guilt of Gold Teeth, 1982. Estimate: $40-80 Million, Christie’s, 21st Century Evening Sale on November 9, 2021.

5 & 6 (TIE)) Andy Warhol, Nine Marilyns, 1962 and Cy Twombly, Untitled, 2007. Estimate of both: $40-60 Million, Sotheby’s, Macklowe Collection on November 15, 2021.

7) Vincent Van Gogh, Cabanes de bois parmi les oliviers et cyprès, 1889. Estimate: On Request (Around
$40 Million), Christie’s, Cox Collection on November 11, 2021.

8) Paul Cézanne, L’Estaque aux toits rouges, 1883-85. Estimate: $35-55 Million, Christie’s, Cox Collection on November 11, 2021.

9) Francis Bacon, Pope with Owls, 1958. Estimate: $35-45 Million. PHILLIPS, 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, November 17, 2021.

10) Pablo Picasso, Mousquetaire a la Pipe II, 1968. Estimate: On Request (In the region of $30 Million), Christie’s, 20th Century Evening Sale on November 11, 2021.

11 (Honorable Mention)) Frida Kahlo, Diego y Yo, 1949. Estimate: $30-50 Million, Sotheby’s, Modern Evening Auction on November 16, 2021

Hero image imagery credits: Property of an Important European Collector, JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (1960-1988), The Guilt of Gold Teeth, Estimate: USD 40,000,000 – USD 80,000,000, Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2021 

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