Fueled by record-breaking masterworks spanning 500 years of artistic innovation, the Paul G. Allen collection becomes the most valuable private collection of all time, totalling $1,622,249,500

On 9 November in New York, Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection kicked off with Part I, which surpassed the $1 billion mark at the 32nd lot and broke records across categories. 

The evening saw 60 extraordinary works achieve a total of $1,506,386,000, establishing the Allen collection as the most valuable private collection in history. Five paintings achieved prices above $100 million. The works in the sale sold 100 per cent by lot with 65 per cent of the lots selling above their high estimates. 

The sales continued on 10 November with a second auction of 95 works, selling at 100 per cent for a total of $115,863,500. Pursuant to Mr. Allen’s wishes, the estate will dedicate its proceeds from the landmark series of sales, totalling $1,622,249,500, to philanthropy. 

The collection of the late philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder features a diverse trove of masterpieces from the Renaissance to the cutting edge of contemporary art.

Georges Seurat (1859-1891), Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version), 1888. (39.3 x 50 cm). Sold for $149,240,000 in Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection Part I on 9 November 2022 at Christie’s in New York

The top lot of the collection was Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version) by Georges Seurat, which sold for $149,240,000. The sale of the painting marks the highest price ever achieved for any Impressionist or Post-Impressionist work of art. 

Of the evening sale, Max Carter, Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, said, ‘Never before have more than two paintings exceeded $100 million in a single sale, but tonight we saw five. Four were masterpieces from the fathers of modernism — Cezanne, Seurat, Van Gogh and Gauguin.’

‘The room tonight was extremely special, and we were joined by colleagues from around the world, demonstrating the global demand of this once-in-a-lifetime collection,’ added Johanna Flaum, Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, 1888-1890. Oil on canvas. (65.2 x 81.2 cm). Sold for $137,790,000 in Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection Part I on 9 November 2022 at Christie’s in New York

In New York, auctioneers Adrien Meyer and Jussi Pylkkänen took bids from clients in 19 countries for the historic Part I, while 31 countries participated in the bidding the following day. The sales attracted over 4 million viewers across Christie’s global platforms. Along with the demand at auction, the preview exhibition saw tremendous interest, drawing over 20,000 visitors globally, with lines forming outside of Rockefeller Center for the ten day preview.  

Adding to the historic nature of the sale, 24 works achieved artist records: Thomas Hart Benton, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Paul Cezanne, Henri Edmond Cross, Max Ernst, Sam Francis, Lucian Freud, Paul Gauguin, Barbara Hepworth, Jasper Johns, Gustav Klimt, Guillermo Kuitca, Jacques Lipchitz, Alden Mason, Diego Rivera, Nancy Rubens, Georges Seurat, Henri Le Sidaner, Paul Signac, Edward Steichen, Mildred Thompson, Vincent van Gogh, Andrew Wyeth, and the artist duo Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.  

John Singer Sargent’s The Façade of La Salute and Paul Klee’s Bunte Landschaft each set a record for a work on paper, while Joseph Kosuth saw a record for a photograph by the artist.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Maternité II, 1899. Oil on burlap. (94.7 x 61 cm). Sold for $105,730,000 in Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection Part I on 9 November 2022 at Christie’s in New York
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