Paul Allen’s art collection sold over two days for a record $1.6 billion

Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, on May 8, 2008 in New York (STAN HONDA / AFP/Archives)

An auction at Christie’s in New York of the art collection of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died in 2018, brought in a record $1.62 billion on Wednesday and Thursday, with five works fetching more than 100 million dollars each.

A sign that the art market continues to grow insolently despite geopolitical and economic uncertainties, these five paintings were all sold on Wednesday evening during a memorable evening at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

These are Georges Seurat “Les Poseuses Ensemble – Small version” sold for 149.2 million dollars, Paul Cézanne “La montagne Sainte-Victoire” 137.7 million, Vincent Van Gogh “Orchard with cypresses” 117.1 million, Paul Gauguin “Maternity II” 105.7 million and Gustav Klimt “Birch Forest” sold for 104.5 million dollars.

The absolute record figure for an auction of works of art was established Wednesday evening at more than 1.5 billion dollars. Thursday evening, the second part of the sale reached “only” 116 million dollars.

The work
The artwork “Small False Start” by Jasper Johns, photographed on October 12, 2022 at Christie’s Los Angeles (Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

In total over the two days, Christie’s announced an astronomical amount of more than 1.62 billion dollars.

“The Paul G. Allen collection has drawn tens of thousands of visitors to Christie’s art galleries around the world and has gone down in history setting a record for the most expensive auction ever” , rejoiced in a press release the CEO of the New York house, Guillaume Cerutti.

In total, the collection featured “155 masterpieces spanning 500 years of art history (and) 100% have sold. Of customers worldwide, “28% of works by value have been purchased Wednesday night by Asian customers,” according to Christie’s.

The company controlled by the Artémis holding company of French billionaire François Pinault had announced that the entire amount of sales would be donated to charity. Despite his falling out with Bill Gates, his partner in the birth of Microsoft in 1975, the American billionaire Paul Allen, had signed his “Giving Pledge” in 2009, pledging to donate the majority of his fortune.

The painting “The Conversation” by David Hockney, one of the works from the collection of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who died in 2018, presented in Los Angeles on October 12, 2022 by Christie’s (Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

The value of this collection blasted the previous record for the Macklowe collection, named after a wealthy New York couple, which reached $922 million at competitor Sotheby’s in the spring.

With these sales and that of a portrait of Marilyn Monroe “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” by Andy Warhol gone in May for 195 million dollars, the year 2022 should go down as one of the most lucrative in the history of the market. art.

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