December 7, 2022

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Paul G. Allen's art at Christie's tops $1 billion, breaking records

Paul G. Allen’s art at Christie’s tops $1 billion, breaking records

Just when it seemed like the high-flying art market couldn’t get any higher, paintings and sculptures from the Microsoft co-founder’s collection Paul J Allenreached the billion-dollar mark at Christie’s New York on Wednesday night, making it the largest sale in auction history.

It was the first of Allen’s two sale, breaking a six-month-old record of $922 million set at Sotheby’s for art from Harry and Linda Macklowe, a quarrelsome couple whose divorce settlement included the sale of their collection.

Where a $100 million price tag meant entering a rare club of auction records, the sales room hardly applauded because many pieces crossed that mark, including Paul Cézanne’s 1888-90 Cubist precursor “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” ($138 million, with fees) ) ; Van Gogh’s Green Scene of Arles, “Verger avec cyprès” ($117 million); and “Birch Forest” by Gustav Klimt in 1903 ($105 million).

Klimt’s sale broke the artist’s previous highest auction price: $88 million for “Portrait of Adele Bloch Power 2” in 2006, the same year he bought Allen Klimt for nearly $40 million.

Proving the apparent immunity to world events at the top of the art market, bids in the sale were solid on several pieces. Some art experts said the lack of a possible market defeat in Tuesday’s election gave buyers more comfort to part with their cash for pretty pictures.

Allen Art Auction Who Die In 2018, it generated a level of excitement not usually seen in the often faltering art world. Among the usual suspects in the room—traders Larry Gagosian, David Zwerner, Dominique Levy, and Joe Nahamad—was among those who flocked to the auction Christie’s owner, François-Henri Pinault, who sat in one of Heaven’s most secret chests. .

Among the more expensive items, Georges Seurat’s offer was “Lee Busuz, Ensemble (small version)“One of the few artworks still in the hands of Seurat’s character, which amounted to $149 million – the artist’s highest value – having been estimated at more than $100 million. In addition, Paul Gauguin’s 1899 oil on burlap”Maternité IIDepicting three Tahitian women in a classic pose in front of a rippling pink cloud, it sold for $106 million, at an estimated cost of $90 million.

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Bidding started strong, with the first three lots selling well above their estimates. Among these is Edward Steichen’s dark and haunted 1904 painting “Flatiron” showing the Flatiron Building in New York. At $12 million – four times the higher estimate – the auction put the artist even higher. This was the second highest price ever paid for a photograph, after Man Ray’s “Le Violon d’Ingres” in 1924, which Sold for $12.4 million at Christie’s last May.

See more than 20,000 collections in advance, with lines up to two hours long that stretch below Rockefeller Plaza in downtown. Previews like these often attract art lovers who are eager to see artworks before many of them disappear into private collections.

Collectors were eagerly anticipating the sale, not only for its record ratings but for the stellar range of works represented by the Allen Collection, which he started in the 1980s.

The artworks — more than 150 of which have arrived at Christie’s, and which will be showing an additional 95 pieces on Thursday’s sale day — span 500 years of history. They ranged from Botticelli’s classic “Madonna of the Magnificat” (mid-15th to early 16th century), which sold for $48 million at an estimated value of $40 million, to Wayne Thiebaud’s exotic confectionery collection, Café Carte (2012), which It was estimated at $3 million to $5 million.

A fiery abstract painting by Jasper Johns, “Small False Start,” included an early work from 1960, which sold for $55 million (estimate was $45 million to $65 million). Blues, reds, yellows and oranges broke the artist’s work Record $36 million in 2014, For the flag plaque purchased by Alice Walton. “He tells the story of his relationship with the collage,” the art consultant said. Alan Schwartzman, who has a professional relationship with Allen’s property. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

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The collection was filled with figurative works such as Edouard Manet’s painter’s shot of a rowing crane,”Le Grand Canal in Veniceand David HockneyConversation‘, which depicts moderator Henry Gildsler and writer Raymond Foy in tense conversation.

David Nash, who served as a technical advisor to Allen, said the tech mogul brought the same enthusiasm for buying paintings as he had for all of his other interests, which included sports teams, marine biology and brain research. “Maybe the Seurat painting is irreplaceable—and Van Gogh and Cézanne,” he said.

At the same time, some art experts said selling was a better measure of Allen’s buying ability than his unique aesthetic passion. “It’s like a tech brain—everything in amazing shape, bright colours, not too unobtrusive, not too sexual—like numbers or a computer guy would think of it; every one of them is a near-perfect example,” said trader and collector Adam Lindemann. That group says a lot about him. You can walk through it all and not have feelings for Paul Allen. It is very analytical and meticulous.”

On the other hand, Schwartzman, the art consultant, said he saw in the set “someone who had a very personal connection to the business he had bought.”

He added, “I find it touching that someone who has had such a huge impact on how the world works today also had such a strong and personal reaction to the artist and the hand.”

Christie’s secured the entire sale, which means that the auction house has agreed to pay the lowest negotiated price for Allen’s property for the entire store. Christie, in turn, offset this risk by securing minimum bids on many lots from third parties—people who agreed to a purchase price up front, thus securing the right to own a business if it did not exceed the guarantee.

All proceeds went to charity, as directed by Allen; His estate did not disclose the beneficiaries, perhaps to avoid alienating potential buyers who would not agree to charitable causes.

The high prices emphasized Allen’s distinct taste, as well as his eye for art he is likely to appreciate. In 2016, Gerhard Richter sold American fighter plane For $25.6 million, more than double the $11.2 million he paid a decade ago, and in 2014, he’s Sell ​​Mark Rothko’s painting For $56.1 million, he paid her $34.2 million in 2007.

“It was one of the best buyers on the market, without much competition,” said Amy Capellazzo, senior advisor and former CEO of Auctions.