Expected to fetch at least $1 billion, 150 masterpieces from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art collection, which includes a Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt, will be auctioned at a Christie’s sale on 9 and November 10 at Rockefeller Center in New York. York.
If the estimates prove correct, the auction will exceed the record set in May 2022 by the Macklowe collection of $922 million, the largest sale in auction history. Allen’s lots span over 500 years and include important works by artists such as Paul Cezanne, David Hockney, Georges Seurat and Jasper Johns. We look at the importance of the auction, how it got its value, and how Allen built it over the years.
Also the founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Institute for Cell Science, in 1997 he purchased the Seattle Seahawks, a National Football League team. Known as a philanthropist, he signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, donating a significant portion of his fortune to charitable initiatives, including those focused on wildlife conservation and brain cancer research. Under Allen’s guidelines, all proceeds from the art auction would also be donated to charity.
Allen began collecting art in the early 1990s and personally selected all works, not relying on an art advisor as is the case with most wealthy collectors. He often bought directly from artists – including Jasper Johns and Georgia O’Keeffe – and private collectors, and bid over the phone at auctions. Spanning over 500 years of art history, its collection includes many masterpieces that have often been loaned anonymously to museums and traveling exhibitions. Anything in this collection was rarely sold.
The art lover also opened the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture in 2000 and founded the Seattle Art Fair.
The 150 lots up for auction are just a selection, with several works from across Allen’s collection yet to be revealed. The best lot should be that of Cézanne The Sainte-Victoire Mountain, purchased by Allen at an auction in 2001. Its pre-sale estimate for the upcoming auction is $120 million. by Georges Seurat The Poseuses, Together (Small Version), presumably purchased by Allen from a private collection, is also expected to cross the $100 million mark.
It is the same for Van Gogh Orchard With Cypresses. Work by Gustav Klimt from 1903 birch forest, has an estimated worth of $90 million. The auction also reflects Allen’s particular fondness for paintings of Venice, with eight lots depicting the city, including an Edouard Manet that has a pre-sale estimate of $65 million.