(Presidentialwire.com)- The first day of Christie’s two-day auction of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen’s masterpiece-heavy collection saw works by artists like Cézanne, Seurat, and van Gogh sell for a record-breaking $1.5 billion.
The 60 works of art auctioned in New York on Wednesday night all found new homes, and five paintings sold for more than $100 million.
The evening’s highest price was for Georges Seurat’s pointillist “Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version),” which sold for $149.2 million. The Barnes Collection in Philadelphia has a larger version of “Les Poseuses.”
The pointillism technique, which was revolutionary when Seurat and Paul Signac created it and involved color dots that merge to make an image, was claimed to have piqued Allen’s interest because of his history in computers, according to Christie’s experts.
The auction house reported Allen as claiming that he was “attracted to things like pointillism or a Jasper Johns ‘numbers’ work because they arise from breaking down into its components — like bytes or numbers, but in a different kind of language.”
Paul Cézanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire,” which sold for $137.8 million, and Vincent van Gogh’s landscape “Verger avec cyprès,” which sold for $117.2 million, were two other highlights from the auction on Wednesday.
In a single sale, no more than two paintings have ever sold for more than $100 million, but tonight we witnessed five,’ said Max Carter, vice chair of 20th and 21st-century art at Christie’s.
From the 20th-century photographer Edward Steichen to the 17th-century Flemish painter Jan Brueghel the Younger, 18 paintings were sold for record prices for the artists.
All sales earnings will go to charities selected by Allen’s estate.
Allen, who created Microsoft alongside his childhood friend Bill Gates, passed away in 2018 from non-Hodgkin lymphoma complications. Throughout his life, he gave more than $2 billion to charities that supported the welfare of the oceans, the homeless, and the advancement of science.
At Christie’s contemporary art sale in New York in 2014, a record of $852.9 million was achieved for a single evening auction.