Harry and Linda Macklowe’s divorce and the liquidation of a $700 million art collection

Harry and Linda Macklowe have been married for 57 years. Their acrimonious divorce battle lasted for years and delayed the 81-year-old billionaire’s plans to marry his girlfriend. Macklowe has been seeing Patricia Landeau, 62, for four years. In fact, Marlowe installed his French mistress in a secret apartment on Park Avenue a few blocks from his marital home with Linda Macklowe at the Plaza. Harry Macklowe has pretended to be broke, in a bid to deprive his wife of nearly six decades of financial support. Fortunately, the judge saw through this ruse and ordered the sale of the couple’s art collection to help resolve the divorce settlement. Now the world’s biggest auction houses are gearing up to fight over Macklowe’s $700 million art collection.

The Macklowes’ collection contains at least 64 works of art, including Andy Warhol’s $50 million work “Nine Marilyns.”

In the art world, they say there are “three Ds” that send masterpieces up for auction: death, debt and divorce.

Harry and Linda Macklowe began collecting shortly after their marriage in 1959. Their collection includes works by Picasso and Mark Rothko. The art collection is the couple’s most prized possession. Most of the best works are expected to be sold. Proceeds will be split between the former couple.

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The couple got into art collecting early on and bought well. They own two works by Mark Rothko, 1951’s “No. 7” and 1960’s “Untitled” which together are worth $100 million. The Macklowes bought Warhol’s “Sixteen Jackies” for $15.7 million in 2006.

The judge’s ruling said Linda Macklowe, trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, could keep 100 works valued at nearly $40 million. Harry will receive a credit of half of this amount applied to the divorce settlement.

Pamela W. Robbins