Art collection of Microsoft co-founder sells for record-breaking $1.5 billion


Microsoft Founder Auction
This undated photo provided by Christie’s shows “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cezanne, an oil on canvas from the Paul G. Allen Collection. The painting was one of 60 pieces from the Paul G. Allen collection auctioned by Christie’s in New York, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, bringing $1.5 billion in a single night. (Christie’s/Courtesy of the Paul G. Allen Estate via AP, File)

Art collection of Microsoft co-founder sells for record-breaking $1.5 billion

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The art collection of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has sold for a whopping $1.5 billion at an auction on Wednesday night.

The sale of the portraits and artworks at Christie’s, an auction business in New York, spanned over 500 years of art throughout history, including works by Vincent van Gogh, Jasper Johns, and Paul Gauguin. A total of 60 artworks were sold in the evening, leading to the record-breaking total of $1,506,386,000, with five of the paintings selling for over $100 million, according to Christie’s.

“Never before have more than two paintings exceeded $100 million in a single sale, but tonight, we saw five,” said Max Carter. “Four were masterpieces from the fathers of modernism — Cezanne, Seurat, Van Gogh, and Gauguin.”


The piece that sold for the highest price in Allen’s collection was Les Poseuses, Ensemble (petite version) by Georges Seurat, which sold for $149,240,000.

Other works of art sold in the evening included Johns’s multicolored Small False Start from the year 1960, which sold for over $55.3 million, making it the highest price an artwork by the artist has ever sold for. Another painting that sold for over $100 million was Paul Cezanne’s La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, which was created sometime between 1888 and 1890 and sold for about $137.8 million.

The auctioneers accepted bids from clients in 19 countries, with the sale attracting 2.2 million viewers across the globe. Additionally, the preview exhibition for the action drew in 20,000 visitors across 10 days in New York, according to Christie’s.


Allen, a childhood friend of fellow Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, died in 2018. In 1975, the two Seattle natives co-founded the iconic technology company, with the company’s big break coming in 1980, when IBM Corp. decided to move into the business of personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system.

Prior to his death, Allen was active in philanthropic work, giving over $2 billion to several causes, such as scientific research, ocean health, and stopping homelessness. In the spirit of his philanthropic work, his estate will dedicate all proceeds from the artwork sales to philanthropy.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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