Ever Mine, Ever Thine, Ever Ours – How to Choose Artwork as a Couple

January 5, 2022

Reading time: 4 Minutes

Harry & Linda Macklowes Art collection has lasted longer than their marriage. You may be asking yourself, “who are they?!”

Perhaps you saw this image from 2019 of Harry Macklowe proclaiming his love to his NEW wife. Ouch! 

The Macklowes was a classic New York couple – married in their 20’s, Harry became a Real Estate Tycoon, and Linda the wife and mother with a keen eye for Artwork.

However, their divorce meant selling what the judge called “an internationally renowned collection”, a carefully curated modern art collection that Linda collected during their 50-year marriage.

Some artists in this collection were works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.

After their 14-month divorce proceedings, and some delays, the first part of their 2 part Sotheby’s auction took part this November for a whopping $676 Million.

But Katie, Girl – how can I have a better collection than a $676 Million one?!

In this journal post, you will learn what they did wrong in choosing art for their home (spoiler alert, it’s more than money) and how you can do better than multi-millionaires. 

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#1: How Linda choosing all the pieces forgot about Harry

I was reading this Town & Country Article, and what struck me was how much time and care Linda took in curating this Group of 65 paintings and sculptures. The collection matured as their marriage matured. 

Her background was in art from even before they were married.

She went on to become a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Guild Hall in East Hampton. While art began as something they enjoyed together in their marriage, the intense collection of those works was driven by Linda alone.

(Of course, Harry enjoyed watching it grow into something amazing)

Harry’s career in Real Estate grew, as did their excess funds, and Linda’s art collection. 

But while Harry sounds as if he participated, it was Linda’s joy – her job (self-imposed of course) to create this out-of-this-world art collection. Not Harry.

In the end, the collection was forced to be sold “by the judge because they couldn’t divide it themselves.”, per a family friend. 

But what would have happened if they grew the collection together? Linda including Harry? Making it their collection? 

Now, I (we) are not in their marriage. And seeing how it ended on a very sour note, I am guessing it was interesting. Perhaps they each had their “jobs”, and each did it well.

But, at the bottom line, they are married and are in a partnership together. 

Let’s talk about how you can be great collectors TOGETHER with your other half. 

#2: How to choose art as a couple

So, how do you collect art as a couple?

Collecting art requires the same amount of communication and mutual respect that a relationship/marriage does. Start with 3 pieces that BOTH of you like. Browse online, visit art galleries, browse other artists. Take note of what you each enjoy and gravitate towards. (psst my buying Art 101 7 day email course will help!) 

Is there a piece that one of you likes more than the other? That is OK too.

My husband and I each have pieces that are more a favorite of one or the other. But instead of not displaying it, it may be in a place that one of us spends more time in. This way, you get to enjoy it!

Tastes change and that’s ok too.

As I mentioned earlier, Linda & Harry Macklowe (RIP their marriage) bought pieces that signified where life was for them (or Linda) then. Let that piece be a marker and a way to remember your life then. 

Be continuously learning. Collecting art is just like anything else. Keep your eyes peeled. Have industry people you respect to learn more things from. And buy what you like! 

Take Herbert & Dorothy Vogel. The ultimate in Art Collecting Couples.

They did not come from means – they both worked as civil servants in New York (Herbert in the Post Office & Dorthy in the Library). But together, the Vogel’s amassed a collection of 4, 782 works of art.

Btw, they kept it in their small one-bedroom apartment in the Upper East Side. The collection has since been split up after the Vogels deaths and donated to many museums all over the United States. 

Take Herbert & Dorothy Vogel. The ultimate in Art Collecting Couples. They did not come from means – they both worked as civil servants in New York (Herbert in the Post Office & Dorthy in the Library). But together, they amassed a collection of 4, 782 works of art.

You too can afford artwork. Be like the Vogels. Don’t be the Macklowes. 

#3: How to properly care for your works so that they last

So you two made a decision and bought some pieces. But how do you care for them? 

  • For Photography, keep it out of the direct sun. As the sun will damage the print causing it to fade. Better yet invest in quality framing with UV glass. DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS! Even printed on Museum Quality Paper, these things will damage the print. How many museums have windows where the art is? 
  • For paintings, dust them regularly. Keep an eye on moisture in the area in which they live. Works on paper may not love being in a bathroom. Chat with your framer to find the best option. Because art in the bathroom is beautiful too! Make sure you hang them properly, especially if they are heavier pieces of work. 
  • For Ceramic works, also dust regularly. Make sure you place them in a safe place. Especially if you have pets or kids.

Think of all those movies where mom’s favorite lamp from aunt Edna was destroyed. 

You just learned how to choose art BETTER than Millionaires, how to enjoy them with your spouse, and how to make them last longer than your lifetime.

If you liked this article, tell me “Love!” in the comments.

Got questions? Let’s hear them! Share this Article with friends that might need a bit of help in the Art Department. (It’s ok, we’ve all got them!)

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