Christie’s is auctioning off Microsoft co-founder Allen’s art collection, valued at over $1 billion

FILE – OCTOBER 15: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died at the age of 65 of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. SEATTLE, WA – OCTOBER 1: Seahawks owner Paul Allen salutes NFL Hall of Fame inductee and former Seahawk Kenny Easley as his number is changed during halftime of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts at CenturyLink Field on October 1 withdrawn in Seattle in 2017. Washington. Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images / AFP (Photo by OTTO GREULE Jr. / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) – Christie’s on Thursday announced plans to auction the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art collection, which is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.

The November auction of more than 150 pieces spanning 500 years of art will be “the largest and most extraordinary art auction in history,” Christie’s said in a statement.

The works include “La montagne Sainte-Victoire” by French painter Paul Cezanne, valued at more than $100 million, the auction house said.

It holds the auction with the estate of the late billionaire. Christie’s said all proceeds will go to charity in accordance with the wishes of Allen, who was an avid art collector, innovator and philanthropist.

Allen, who died in 2018 at the age of 65, co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. Together they developed the PC operating system that made the US tech giant a fortune.

Allen left the company in 1983 due to health problems and a deteriorating relationship with Gates, who remained in charge of Microsoft until 2000.

The US couple Harry and Linda Macklowe set the auction record for a private collection this spring, fetching $922 million at Sotheby’s auctions.

In addition to the work of Cezanne, the Allen collection includes a work entitled “Small False Start” by American painter Jasper Johns valued at more than $50 million, the New York Times reported.

Christie’s hasn’t detailed what else is in the collection, but a touring exhibition in 2016 provided a glimpse of the richness of the Allen art finds.

It features works by Monet, Manet, Klimt and others.

This year is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever in the art market.

Alongside the Macklowe sale, a Marilyn Monroe portrait by Andy Warhol sold in May for $195 million – a record for a 20th-century work of art.

Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti said the Allen auction will be like no other.

“Paul Allen’s inspirational figure, the exceptional quality and variety of the works, and the dedication of all proceeds to philanthropy create a unique combination that will make the sale of the Paul G. Allen Collection an event of unprecedented magnitude,” Cerutti said.

“For Paul, art was both analytical and emotional. He believed that art expresses a unique view of reality – combining the artist’s inner state and inner eye – in a way that can inspire us all,” said Jody Allen, the executor.

“His collection reflects the diversity of his interests with its own mysticism and beauty.”

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