It could be the largest private art collection auction in history: Paul Allen’s estate could reach more than a billion dollars.
Around 150 works of art by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died in 2018, will be auctioned. The auction house expects total profits to exceed US$1 billion. It would be the largest sum in history ever raised from the sale of a private art collection.
The collection includes paintings from the last 500 years and ranges from “Botticelli to David Hockney”, as a Christie’s employee confirmed to the “New York Times” when asked. Among the works are well-known paintings such as “Small False Start”, which the American artist Jasper Johns painted in 1960 and whose value today is estimated at about 50 million dollars. French Impressionist Paul Cézanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” could sell for more than $100 million.
All proceeds from the auction will go to charity, per Allen’s instructions, Christie’s said.
Allen had also made a lot of money selling paintings during his lifetime.
Paul Allen founded Microsoft together with Bill Gates in 1975, but left the company in 1983 for health reasons, but remained on the Supervisory Board until 2000 and then worked as a consultant for Microsoft.
Already in 2006 he showed part of his art collection in an exhibition, including works by Max Ernst, Paul Gauguin, Roy Lichtenstein, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko and other renowned artists.
According to the New York Times, Allen not only collected art, but also used it as an investment. He sold a Gerhard Richter painting for $25.6 million, more than double what he originally paid for it. A Mark Rothko painting also sold for $56.2 million, much more than the $34.2 million Allen paid for it seven years earlier.
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