Paul Allen’s art collection at Christie’s exceeds $1 billion

Paul Allen’s art collection at Christie’s exceeds $1 billion


Paintings and sculptures from the collection of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen sold for a historic $1 billion at auction on Wednesday, auction house Christie’s said, setting records for works by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat and Klimt.

At the end of Wednesday night, five paintings joined the exclusive club of works of art that have been auctioned for more than $100 million, the New York auction house said.

The night’s highest-priced artwork, Georges Seurat’s 1888 work Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Small Version), a well-known work of pointillism, fetched $149.24 million, including fees, according to Christie’s.

The auction house had announced that it would donate all proceeds to charity.

While just 60 of 150 lots were sold on Wednesday and the rest will be auctioned on Thursday, the collection’s value has already surpassed the previous record for the Macklowe collection, named after a wealthy New York couple, which fetched $922 million at a competitor Sotheby’s earlier this spring.

The two-day auction in New York came as experts said the super-rich see art as a safe investment this year amid a turbulent global economy and the Russian war in Ukraine.

Allen made his fortune establishing the PC operating system with his better-known Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, in 1975.

He amassed a vast art collection, which he loaned to museums before his death in 2018 at the age of 65.

Allen left Microsoft in 1983 due to health problems and a deteriorating relationship with Gates, who ran the company until 2000.

Despite their strained friendship, Allen signed Gates’ “Giving Pledge” campaign, and all proceeds from the auction will be donated to charity.

At an auction on Wednesday, French painter Paul Cezanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” fetched $137.8 million, nearly double the artist’s auction record.

A work by Vincent Van Gogh, Cypress Orchard, broke the Dutch artist’s previous record, grossing $117.2 million.

A Tahitian-era painting by Paul Gauguin, “Motherhood II,” grossed $105.7 million.

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s Birch Forest grossed $104.6 million.

Another 95 works from Allen’s collection go on sale Thursday.

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