The upcoming auction season in New York just got a few hundred million dollars slimmer with the not entirely surprising news that veteran art dealer Michael Findlay has decided to halt the sale of the collection of divorced couple Harry and Linda Macklowe to auction because of the current global crisis.

Findlay, the court-appointed receiver for the sale of the Macklowe collection, “has decided to pause the process of selecting an auction house because of the current international situation stemming from the COVID-19 virus. In due course, Mr. Findlay will decide when to proceed,” according to a statement given to Artnet News by a representative for Findlay. Some observers expected the sale to take place in May.

As Artnet News reported this past October, after a year of legal wrangling, Findlay was appointed the receiver for the art collection that was going up for sale amid the bitter divorce of New York real estate mogul Harry and his wife Linda. The news immediately touched off an art world guessing game about which auction house would win the right to sell the collection, not to mention how much it might have to pony up in terms of guarantees or other promises.

The 165-work collection, estimated at upwards of $700 million, is a trophy hunter’s dream. It includes a $50 million Andy Warhol Marilyn, nine works by Pablo Picasso, a Jackson Pollock painting worth up to $35 million, roughly a dozen works by Jeff Koons—including a $10 million bronze sculpture titled Vest with Aqualung—and a $12 million work by Brice Marden.

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