Microsoft MSFT, +1.11% co-founder Paul Allen collected chemistry sets as a boy, but the trove of paintings and sculptures he later amassed could top $1 billion when it heads to auction at Christie’s this fall.
Christie’s confirmed Thursday that it had won the right to sell at least 150 artworks from Allen’s estate — now poised to be the most expensive art collection the auction industry has ever handled. The sale is estimated to surpass the $922 million collection of real-estate developer Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda Macklowe, sold earlier this year, as well as the $835 million estate of banker David Rockefeller and his wife, Peggy, in 2018. Allen died at age 65 in 2018 after a recurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas, said the house must finish cataloging all 150 works before providing additional details on the sale’s offerings, though he confirmed it will include Jasper Johns’ 1960 “Small False Start,” which is estimated to sell for at least $50 million, and Paul Cézanne’s 1888-90 landscape, “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire.”
The Cézanne last sold at auction for $39 million in 2001; Porter estimates it could resell for at least $100 million this November in New York.
Like the Rockefeller estate, all proceeds from Allen’s sale will go to charity, though no recipients have yet been named, the house said. Allen donated $2 billion during his lifetime to funds addressing biomedical research, culture, environmental causes and homelessness.
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