Divorce offers some people a blank canvas, but one couple painted a different picture, setting records by auctioning off their art collection worth close to $1 billion.

The accumulation of artwork from real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife, Linda Macklowe, included pieces from notable artists such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Alberto Giacometti and was the second collection to be auctioned after the Macklowes' divorce in 2018, according to the New York Times. The second collection went for $246.1 million on Monday, while the first brought in $676 million last November, totaling $922.2 million in New York City auctions.

"The Macklowe Collection is an exemplary vision of connoisseurship: a peerless collection of rare and iconic masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries," Sotheby's auction house wrote of the collection. "The result of decades of inquiry and pursuit, the Collection is driven by an innate understanding of quality and the patience to pursue the very best from each artist, creating a collection of unparalleled importance."


The second collection from the Macklowes included 30 pieces and was estimated to raise around $168 million, according to the outlet. While it did not bring in as much money as the first collection did, a piece from Warhol went for $18.7 million, and a piece from Gerhard Richter went for $30.2 million, helping to push past the record set by the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection, which went for $835.1 million in 2018, according to the outlet.

"Either art is one of the few assets that seem to have a good immunological protection against recession, or inflation is much stronger than we think," Loic Gouzer, a former specialist with Christie's auction house, said, comparing the art market to the "spare parts market," noting that "good works are hard to find and very expensive."

The Macklowes spent their marriage collecting top-quality examples of art from white male artists such as Warhol, Richter, Mark Rothko, and Cy Twombly, while today's art market is more focused on up-and-coming female artists and artists of color, according to the outlet.

"We've been thinking about where we are with white male artists," Suzanne Gyorgy, the global head for art advisory and finance at Citi Private Bank, told the outlet. "Then the Macklowe sale came along and did extraordinarily well."


After more than 50 years of marriage, the Macklowes filed for divorce in 2016. In 2018, Justice Laura Drager of New York ordered the couple to sell their art collection and split the proceeds. Macklowe remarried in 2019, and in an attempt to taunt his ex-wife, he hung a 42-foot photo of his new wife on one of the tallest buildings in New York City.

The Washington Examiner reached out to Sotheby's for a request for comment.