New York – The auction of the art collection of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, achieved a record of 1,506 million dollars this Wednesday at Christie’s in New York, where buyers bid briskly and they multiplied the estimated values of practically all the works.
Allen’s collection, which covers some 500 years of Art History, has been divided into two days and this first night 60 high-value pieces were offered, which, added together, far exceeded the 922 million raised in May in the sale of the Macklowe collection, until now the most expensive in history.
The most coveted works were those of the great Impressionist masters and the best example was “Les poseuses, ensemble” by Georges Seurat, an intimate image made with his characteristic pointillism technique, which sold for 149.24 million, 5 times the maximum price reached by the artist.
The mark of 100 million dollars was also surpassed by a Cézanne (“La Montaigne Sainte-Victoire”, 137 million), a Van Gogh (“Verger avec cyprès”, 117 million), a Gauguin (“Maternité II”, 105 million ) and a Klimt (“Birch Forest”, 104 million), all of them setting new milestones for their signatories.
Despite their lower price, they also highlighted a family portrait by Lucien Freud (86 million), one of Claude Monet’s famous bridge scenes (64 million), an abstract and colorful painting by Jasper Johns (55 million) and a scene of the canals of Venice, by Edouard Manet (almost 52 million).
From the beginning of the sale, interested parties were seen systematically bidding until they smashed the records of almost all the artists, raising the question of whether the quality of the treasures left by Allen had more weight or the will to enforce his wish that The proceeds go to philanthropic causes.
The concentration of those present – the main New York dealers were there and even the tycoon Francois-Henri Pinault, according to The New York Times – was interrupted only at the end, when after the last hammer blow the collection of more than 1,500 million was announced and there was a burst of applause.
The expectation for the auction was also applied to the public, who in recent days had been waiting in line to enter the headquarters of Christie’s, in Rockefeller Center, and see the nearly 150 works from Botticelli to Hockney that the businessman, who died in 2018 and considered a “visionary”, also in art.
Allen’s collection became the most expensive before the sale ended and will continue to grow in value this Thursday, when the remaining 95 pieces are auctioned, which start with estimated prices well below those of this Wednesday, from a low of $ 3,000 up to about 3 million dollars maximum.