The billion dollar milestone was expected for the auction at Christie’s, in New York, of the art collection of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died in 2018. It was largely exceeded with a record amount of 1.62 billion dollars (1.59 billion euros) after two days of auctions, Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 November.
The value of this collection shattered the previous record for the Macklowe collection, named after a wealthy New York couple, which reached $922 million at competitor Sotheby’s in the spring. Sign that the art market continues to grow insolently despite geopolitical and economic uncertainties, five works have been acquired for an amount exceeding 100 million dollars each. It is :
- The Poseuses together. small versionof Georges Seurat, sold for $149.2 million;
- The Sainte-Victoire Mountain, by Paul Cezanne (137.7 million);
- Orchard with cypresses, of Vincent Van Gogh (117.1 million);
- Maternity IIby Paul Gauguin (105.7 million);
- Birch Forest, by Gustav Klimt (104.5 million).
This absolute record for an auction of works of art had been established on the first day, Wednesday, at more than 1.5 billion dollars thanks in particular to these five paintings, as well as Waterloo Bridge, overcast by Claude Monet, sold for $64.5 million. Thursday evening, the second part of the sale reached “only” 116 million dollars.
A most lucrative year 2022
“The Paul G. Allen collection has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Christie’s art galleries around the world and has now made history by setting a record for the most expensive auction ever” carried out, rejoiced in a press release the CEO of the New York house, Guillaume Cerutti.
In total, the collection included “155 masterpieces spanning five hundred years of art history [et] 100% have been sold ». According to Christie’s, “28% of the works by value were purchased on Wednesday evening by Asian customers”.
The company controlled by the Artémis holding company of French billionaire François Pinault had announced that the entire amount of sales would be donated to charity. Despite his falling out with Bill Gates, his partner in the birth of Microsoft in 1975, the American billionaire Paul Allen had signed in 2009 his “giving pledge”pledging to donate the majority of his fortune.
With these sales and that of a portrait of Marilyn Monroe – Shot Sage Blue Marilynby Andy Warhol – left in May for 195 million dollars, the year 2022 should remain as one of the most lucrative in the history of the art market.