Sale of Microsoft Co-Founder's Art Smashes Records

It's the most valuable private collection ever auctioned at $1.5B—with 95 lots still to go
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2022 8:19 AM CST
Sale of Microsoft Co-Founder's Art Smashes Records
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, attends the dedication of the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, Oct. 9, 2003.   (AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

Christie's $1 billion estimate of the value of Paul Allen's art collection turned out to be just a bit off. Sixty pieces sold for a combined $1.5 billion on Wednesday in the first of a two-day auction in New York—smashing the $922 million record for the most valuable private collection ever auctioned, per Axios—and that's not even half of the works on offer. More records were broken for individual artists as works by Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, and Gustav Klimt each sold for more than $100 million, the BBC reports. Seurat's 1888 work "Les Poseuses, Ensemble" fetched the highest price at $149.2 million with fees. That's "five times the previous auction record for artwork by the French post-Impressionist artist," per Axios.

Cezanne's "La Montagne Sainte-Victoire" sold for $137.8 million, Van Gogh's "Orchard with Cypresses" sold for $117.2 million, Gauguin's "Maternité II" fetched $105.7 million, and Klimt's "Birch Forest," nabbed $104.5 million. Edward Steichen's 1904 photograph of New York's Flatiron building fetched a whopping $11.8 million, four times the estimate, becoming the second-most expensive photo ever sold, CNBC reports. It adds that Andrew Wyeth's "Day Dream," with an estimate of up to $3 million, sold for $23.3 million. All proceeds will go to charity. Allen, the late Microsoft co-founder, had signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate at least half his fortune. Another 95 lots—including works by Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Damien Hirst—will be auctioned Thursday. (More art auction stories.)

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