Art: Microsoft co-founder’s collection smashes sales records

Posted Nov 10, 2022, 6:57 AMUpdated on Nov. 10, 2022, 6:18 p.m.

New York experienced an evening of records on Wednesday. The auction at Christie’s in New York of the art collection of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died in 2018, has exceeded the historic mark of one billion dollars. And allowed to collect in fact a little more than 1.5 billion.

A sign that the art market continues to progress despite the economic uncertainties linked to the war in Ukraine and inflation, five paintings have entered the closed club of works sold for more than 100 million dollars at auction. And several others broke records during this memorable evening at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

Records for some artists

The most expensive of the evening, “Les Poseuses, Ensemble (small version)”, a painting painted in 188 by Georges Seurat and considered a pinnacle of pointillism, reached 149.24 million dollars, including costs, announced Christie’s. For its part, the “Montagne Sainte-Victoire” (1888-1890) by Paul Cézanne, herald of cubism, was purchased for 137.79 million, an auction record for the French painter.

Auction records were also beaten for Vincent Van Gogh, whose “Orchard with Cypresses” – sold for 117.1 million dollars -, or for Paul Gauguin, including a painting from the Tahitian period, “Maternity II” (1899 ), went to 105.73 million. A work by Gustav Klimt, “Birch Forest”, reached 104.5 million dollars, again an auction record for this artist.

95 lots offered this Thursday evening

And the evening of this Thursday could well hold new surprises. Of the 155 lots that make up the collection, only 60 were sold on Wednesday. The remaining 95 will be on Thursday. But even if new records are not reached this Thursday, the value of Paul Allen’s collection has now entered the history of auctions. Already surpassing the previous record of the Macklowe collection, named after a wealthy New York couple, which reached 922 million dollars at Sotheby’s last spring.

All proceeds from sales would be donated to charity. Despite his falling out with Bill Gates, his partner in the birth of Microsoft in 1975, billionaire Paul Allen signed his “Giving Pledge” in 2009, pledging to donate the majority of his fortune.

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