Artworks from Microsoft co-founder’s estate up for auction in $1 billion sale

1 min read

Paintings by Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat and Lucian Freud will go under the hammer next month in a sale of artworks from the estate of late Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen that is expected to raise more than $1 billion for philanthropic causes.

Described as “the sale of this century” by auction house Christie’s, the collection of more than 150 pieces spans 500 years of art history from Sandro Botticelli to David Hockney.

The star attractions are Cezanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” and Seurat’s “Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite Version)”, which carry price estimates of in excess of $120 million and $100 million respectively.

Christie’s Global President Jussi Pylkkanen said he expected overall proceeds “well in excess of $1 billion.”

Allen “was a man who really understood the artworks and their individual significance,” Pylkkanen told Reuters on Friday at a media preview in London, where some of the works are on public display for a few days.

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Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Threew Studies for Self-Portrait triptych-oil on canvas Painted in 1979. Credit line: Amer Ghazzal / Shutterstock Editorial / Profimedia

Allen, who together with school friend Bill Gates started Microsoft in 1975 before leaving the software company several years later, died in 2018, aged 65.

Other highlights from his collection include Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for Self-Portrait” triptych with an estimate of $25 million, Freud’s “Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau)” painting with a price tag of $75 million and Botticelli’s “Madonna of the Magnificat”, which could fetch more than $40 million.

Hockney’s “Queen Anne’s Lace Near Kilham” has a price estimate of $8 million-$12 million and Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture “Femme de Venise III” $15 million-$20 million.

The collection will be sold in two parts in New York on Nov. 9-10 .

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