• Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 9 November 2022

Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
Part I Totals $1.5 Billion in a Single Night

New York – November 9th, Christie’s and the estate of the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Paul G. Allen, celebrated an evening sale of historic proportions. Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection, Part I at Christie’s Rockefeller Center featured 60 masterpieces drawn from the greatest movements of the last five centuries of art history, which brought a combined $ 1,506,386,000, establishing this as the most valuable private-collection sale of all time. The auction broke the world-record for a sale just halfway through the bidding when the auctioneer, Jussi Pylkkänen, knocked down Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture, Femme de Venise III, for $25,007,500. The auction was 100% sold, and 122% sold against low estimate. All of the estate’s proceeds from this historic sale will be dedicated to philanthropy, pursuant to Mr. Allen’s wishes.
It was a sale of one highlight after another, with five paintings – the most ever in one sale – bringing more than $100 million each, with each one setting a world record. Three of the lots were among the top lots sold of all time. Georges Seurat’s groundbreaking statement on pointillism, Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version) led the evening at $149,240,000. Paul Cezanne’s monumental landscape, La Montagne Sainte-Victoire brought $137,790,000. Vincent van Gogh’s Verger avec cyprès, which captures the artist’s early encounter with the South of France, achieved $117,180,000. Paul Gauguin’s Maternité II from 1899, one of his most important years, made $105,730,000. Gustav Klimt’s evocative depiction of a Birch Forest, made $104,585,000. The number and size of the record prices set was unprecedented.
Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas, said, “The Paul G. Allen Collection will always be celebrated as a monumental collection of masterpieces in support of philanthropy on a historic scale. Christie’s and the Allen Estate have set the world record for the value of a single auction, and it is deeply gratifying that we were able to do so for the benefit of others. Let’s all take a moment to recall that this was made possible by one man’s passionate pursuit of excellence, and his commitment to making the world a better place. Those are values that Christie’s feels deeply and thanks to Paul Allen, we were able to live our values on this important night.”
Max Carter, Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, said “In these last weeks and months, collectors, art lovers and our colleagues around the world have stood on the mountaintop, overlooking 500 years of visionary achievement from Botticelli to Seurat, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Freud—and the view was breathtaking. We may never see this range, quantity and quality of masterpieces in one private collection again.”

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability by reducing our carbon emissions by 50% and pledging to be net zero by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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