She has one of the most coveted art collections in the Big Apple, but now Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee Linda Macklowe appears to be lowballing its value in a bid to squeeze more money out of her divorce from billionaire developer-hubby Harry.
Linda’s art expert Christopher Gaillard, deputy chairman at the appraisal firm Gurr Johns, put the 170-piece contemporary collection — which also includes an Andy Warhol series of Marilyn Monroe and multiple Mark Rothko masterpieces — at $625 million.
But Harry Macklowe says it’s closer to $1 billion and since Linda has asked the judge to award her the art collection in the split, a lower official value on it will translate to a bigger slice of her estranged husband’s estimated $2 billion fortune.
Gaillard testified in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday that their bronze sculpture “The Nose” by Alberto Giacometti is worth just $38 million — even though an insurer has pegged it at $70 million.
“’The Nose’ is one of the most important works that Alberto Giacometti has created, is it not?” Harry’s attorney, Peter Bronstein, asked Gaillard on cross examination.
“It is an important work, yes — is it one of the most important? It is important, I cannot say whether it is one of the most important,” Gaillard sputtered.
Art consultant Alex Rosenberg, who is not involved in the case, told The Post “The Nose” could be worth “$50 million very easily.”
Bronstein also grilled Gaillard about why, for pricing purposes, he compared Pablo Picasso’s 47-inch high steel figurine “Project for a Monument to Guillaume Apollinaire” to another Picasso work that measured just 12 inches.
“Because it was made out of wire,” Gaillard answered. He said the Picasso figurine was worth $16 million.
The legal maneuvering clashes with Linda Macklowe’s testimony earlier in the divorce trial that collecting “is the central activity of my life and the very basis of my life.”
Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns” hangs on the living room wall of her Plaza Hotel apartment. She’s amassed such a large trove that she has to keep many of her prized pieces in storage.
“Collecting is an obsessive activity so you always run out of room,” said Linda Macklowe, who owns a 20,000 square foot apartment, a Hamptons estate, and an 150-foot yacht.
She revealed during cross-examination that she donated $2.5 million to get a coveted seat on the Guggenheim Museum Board of Trustees. She paid an additional $100,000 in annual dues on her American Express care for “the mileage,” she said.
Tomorrow the Macklowe’s are expected to spar over the price tag on their Plaza Hotel apartment.
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