n art collection owned by a divorced couple has fetched $676m (£503m) in New York.
“No 7” by abstract painter Rothko sold for $82.5m while a piece titled “Number 17, 1951” by Pollock scooped $61.2 million – a new record for the artist’s work.
An eerie silkscreen of actress Marilyn Monroe by Andy Worhol called “Nine Marilyn’s” sold for $47.3m.
The prestigious trove was owned by real estate developer Harry Macklowe and his wife Linda who had been embroiled in an acrimonious five-year divorce battle.
In 2018, during their separation proceedings, a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the pair to sell the artworks after they failed to agree on its worth.
Art dealer Andrew Fabricant told the New York Times that Linda Macklowe was the main collector.
“She had an abiding love for abstraction, but she also had a great eye for figuration,” he said, adding: “Every single work in here is subtle and unique.”
On the court-ordered auction, he called it “bittersweet that the collection had to be dispersed in this fashion.”
Sotheby’s and Christie’s battled for the collection but the former won the right to sell it. A second part of the couple’s art collection is to be sold next May.
Sotheby’s chief executive Charlie Stewart said: “The Macklowe collection stands in a league of its own as the greatest collection of modern and contemporary art ever to come to the market.
“It will undoubtedly captivate top collectors from around the world, and the sale will make history as one of the landmark events defining the art market and the history of Sotheby’s over the past 277 years.”