Microsoft Co-Founder, Late Paul Allen’s Art Collection Sell For $1.6bn
Late Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, sold his collection of paintings and sculptures at auction, bringing in a record $1.6 billion over two days, according to Christie’s auction house on Thursday.
The lucrative New York auction, where five paintings brought in more than $100 million apiece, demonstrated that the art market is still expanding despite the world’s economy remaining unstable in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
More than $1.5 billion in artwork was purchased at the art auction on Wednesday night, setting a record, according to a statement from Christie’s. Thursday’s second day of the auction brought in $116 million.
According to Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s, “The Paul G. Allen collection attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Christie’s galleries throughout the world and has now made history, setting the record for the most valuable auction sale ever.”
The collection contained “155 masterpieces spanning 500 years of art history,” and according to the Christie’s statement, every piece that was offered for sale was purchased.
The paintings that exceeded $100 million included “The Poseurs Together – Small Version” by Georges Seurat ($149.2 million), “La montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cezanne ($137.7 million), “Orchard with Cypresses” by Vincent Van Gogh ($117.1 million), “Maternity II” by Paul Gauguin ($105.7 million), and “Birch Forest” by Gustav Klimt ($104.5 million).
The holding company Artemis, which is owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault, had previously indicated that all revenues from the transactions will be donated to charitable organizations.
Bill Gates and American billionaire Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975, but their relationship later deteriorated. He committed to giving the vast majority of his wealth to charity when he signed the “Giving Pledge” in 2009. 2018 saw his passing.
The Macklowe collection set the previous record for an art collection at Sotheby’s earlier this year with a sale price of $922 million, but this week’s auction smashed that mark.
2022 is on track to be the most successful year in the history of the art market thanks to the sales of the Macklowe and Paul Allen collections and the $195 million sale of an Andy Warhol image of Marilyn Monroe titled “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” in May.