June 13, 2024

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's business exceeds $1.5 billion at auction

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s business exceeds $1.5 billion at auction

Art purveyors hold a painting “La montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cézanne (estimate on demand: over $120,000,000) during a video call to present the highlights from the property of philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder, Paul G. Allen in London on October 14, 2022 .

Victor Szymanowicz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Christie’s sold 60 works from the Paul G. Allen Collection for $1.5 billion Wednesday night, as wealthy collectors around the world shrugged off economic and crypto concerns to invest in commemorative artwork.

Five paintings broke the $100 million mark, including Best Seller of the Night – Georges Seurat’s “Les Poseuses, Ensemble,” which sold for $149.2 million. Many works have sold at three or four times their estimates, with several artists setting new auction records, including Vincent van Gogh, Edward Steichen and Gustav Klimt.

Total sales of $1.506 billion broke the previous record for the most expensive collection ever auctioned, which Harry and Linda Macklowe’s collection set at auction at Sotheby’s for $922 million. Allen’s Thursday morning total sales will rise even higher, when another 95 items head to auction.

The wave of eight- and nine-figure sales indicated that the global wealthy still viewed the masterpiece as a hedge against inflation and perhaps a safer store of value than increasingly volatile stocks and cryptocurrencies. The sale came the same day it came The Dow fell more than 600 points And the Bitcoin drops to its lowest level 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, with Allen signing the Giving Pledge promising to leave at least half of his fortune to charity.

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Allen’s zealous eye for the great arts has also made significant investments. Gustav Klimt bought “Birch Forest” for $40 million in 2006, and sold Wednesday for $104 million.

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

Robert Frank | CNBC

The painting “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cézanne sold for 137.8 million dollars. The painting “Verger avec Cypres” by Vincent Van Gogh sold for $117 million and set a new auction record for Van Gogh, which was last set in 1990. Paul Gaugen’s “Maternite II” sold for $105.7 million.

Lucian Freud’s “The Great Interior, W11 (After Watteau)”, considered one of his biggest masterpieces, sold for $86.3 million. The value of one of the paintings “Waterloo Bridge” by Claude Monet was 64.5 million dollars.

Bidding was strong around the world, with Christie’s specialists bidding over the phone on behalf of clients in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States, with many works sold to multiples of their estimates. A famous photograph by Edward Steichen of the Flatiron Building in New York sold for $11.8 million, making it the second most expensive photograph ever sold and smashing estimates between $2 million and $3 million.

Andrew Wyeth’s painting, “Daydream,” became the subject of a raging bidding war, selling for $23.3 million, well above its $2 million to $3 million estimate. Despite the collector’s current obsession with contemporary art, many of Allen’s old professors hit eight figures. Botticelli’s work called “Madonna Magnificat” went for $48 million.

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Visitors look at a painting titled “Madonna of the Magnificat” by Alessandro Felipe called Sandro Botticelli (estimate on demand: over $40,000,000) during a video call to present the property highlights of philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul J. Allen in London on October 14 2022.

Victor Szymanowicz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images