‘Bitter’ David Macklowe Divorce Surprise Gift to Victoria

Inside David and Victoria Macklowe’s Upper East Side mansion, a glossy film is projected on two large screens to the sounds of the British boy band Five. The artwork bought at Sotheby’s includes a work by Damien Hirst depicting a wounded shark submerged in a tank of formaldehyde, one of countless artworks purchased by David Macklowe over the years – and many that later wound up in his fiery divorce settlement.

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Perched on a wall alongside a painting by Rembrandt is a signature monogrammed revolver purchased by David Macklowe at auction for $16,000. It’s not just a “gesture of goodwill” to Victoria, says the estranged husband of real estate developer Anthony Hirst (and, more recently, Caitlyn Jenner), it’s an art object “that conveys profound physicality and form, with very little room for error in the manufacturing process.”

Given the pair’s various, acrimonious altercations over David’s trophies, this valedictory gesture certainly appears to be clever design strategy. Next to the silhouette of a hummingbird, purchased from Christina Voros in 2006, stands a proud single laminated print, “String of Dreams,” by Tracy Emin (2014), purchased at Christie’s by David for $25,000. Past “Monster” by Cindy Sherman (2004), purchased at Alfred Taubman’s auction in Geneva for $72,000, rests “Bone and Ashes” by Jake and Dinos Chapman (2004), purchased by Victoria for $32,000.

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For himself, “Bitter Macklowe” is a focus of David’s collection: one of his paintings sold at Christie’s in 1996 for $400,000, and “Bitter Macklowe” by Isaac Bashevis Singer (2010), sold this week at Sotheby’s for $676,000. His cutting-edge politics are somewhat muted by his portraiture: “Syringes Are Everywhere” by Primo Levi (1984), purchased at Christie’s in 1988, for example, was purchased in 1995 for $950.

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As old Soviet inkblots tell us, after all, love is all that lasts.

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