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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art fetches more than $1.5 billion at auction

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art fetches more than .5 billion at auction

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art fetches more than $1.5 billion at auction

Art executives hold a painting titled “La montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cezanne (asking estimate: over $120,000,000) during a photo call to present highlights of the estate of philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen in London on October 14, 2022 .

Wiktor Szymanowicz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Christie’s sold 60 works from the Paul G. Allen collection for more than $1.5 billion on Wednesday night, as wealthy collectors around the world shrugged off economic and crypto concerns to invest in trophy works of art.

Five paintings crossed the $100 million mark, including the top seller of the night – “Les Poseuses, Ensemble” by Georges Seurat, which sold for $149.2 million. Several works sold for three or four times their estimate, and several artists set new auction records, including Vincent van Gogh, Edward Steichen and Gustav Klimt.

The total sale of $1.506 billion broke the previous record for the most expensive collection ever sold at auction, which was set by the collection of Harry and Linda Macklowe which sold at auction at Sotheby’s for $922 million. Allen’s collection sales total will jump even higher Thursday morning, when another 95 lots will go up for auction.

A flurry of eight- and nine-figure sales suggested the world’s rich still view masterpiece art as a hedge against inflation and perhaps a safer store of value than increasingly volatile stocks and cryptocurrencies. The sale took place on the same day The Dow fell over 600 points and bitcoin fell to lowest levels since november 2020.

The collection of Paul Allen, the late co-founder of Microsoft, was a treasure trove of masterpieces spanning 500 years. All proceeds will go to charity, as Allen signed a pledge pledging to leave at least half of his fortune to charity.

Allen’s keen eye for great art also created great investments. He bought Gustav Klimt’s “Birch Forest” for $40 million in 2006 and sold it Wednesday for $104 million.

“La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cézanne is up for auction from the Paul Allen Collection at Christie’s in New York on November 9, 2022.

Robert Frank | CNBC

Paul Cézanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” sold for $137.8 million. Vincent van Gogh’s “Orchard with Cyprus” sold for $117 million and set a new auction record for Van Gogh, last set in 1990. Paul Gauguin’s “Maternite II” sold for $105.7 million.

Lucian Freud’s “Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau),” considered one of his greatest masterpieces, sold for $86.3 million. One of Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” paintings went for $64.5 million.

Bidding was strong worldwide, with Christie’s experts bidding by telephone on behalf of clients in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US. Several works sold for multiples of their estimates. Edward Steichen’s famous photograph of New York’s Flatiron Building has sold for $11.8 million, making it the second most expensive photograph ever sold and knocking down its estimate of $2 million to $3 million.

An Andrew Wyeth painting called “Day Dream” became the subject of a fierce bidding war, selling for $23.3 million, well above its estimate of $2 million to $3 million. Despite the current collecting obsession with contemporary art, few of Allen’s Old Masters have eight figures. Botticelli’s work called “Madonna of the Magnificat” cost 48 million dollars.

Visitors look at a painting titled “Madonna of the Magnificat” by Alessandro Filipepi aka Sandro Botticelli (asking estimate: over $40,000,000) during a photo call to showcase highlights of the estate of philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen in London on March 14. October 2022

Wiktor Szymanowicz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images



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