Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

$700 million art collection up for auction due to divorce

The longer a couple is married, the more they tend to acquire together -- so it's hardly surprising that the billionaire developer Harry Macklowe and his wife had amassed a lot of assets in their 57 years together.

However, those years have come to a bitter end. The couple's divorce has become so acrimonious that they can't find a middle ground on the value of their massive art collection in order to fairly split the assets. The judge in their divorce case -- which has gone to litigation -- has ordered a large part of the collection sold at auction and the proceeds divided.

In this case, the wife does seemingly have a few reasons to be bitter. After putting his mistress of four years up in a Park Avenue dwelling, the husband claimed he was too broke to pay spousal support. His wife is being allowed to keep 100 pieces of art -- valued at roughly $40 million -- while the rest will be sold. Paintings by Picasso and Warhol alike are expected to be in the auction.

This isn't the first time a massive art collection has found its way to market during or after a divorce. In fact, divorce is one of the top three reasons auctioneers say famous pieces end up back in circulation. Actor Russell Crowe regretfully parted with about $2.8 million in art in order to settle his divorce with Danielle Spencer after almost 15 years of marriage.

Don't let your divorce cost you more than necessary. While sometimes you simply have to liquidate items of value in order to settle a divorce fairly, there are often ways to keep the property you value the most. It usually takes a willingness to negotiate fairly and work with -- not against -- your spouse for an equitable solution. That's the sort of thing that an experienced attorney can help you manage.

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