'Once in a lifetime opportunity' to view Paul Allen's $1B art collection at Christie's

Sandy Kenyon Image
Thursday, October 27, 2022
'Once in a lifetime opportunity' to view Paul Allen's art collection
Paul Allens's personal art collection worth $1 billion is being sold early next month by Christie's auction house in Manhattan. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Paul Allen is still best known as the co-founder of Microsoft, but the late entrepreneur owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks, and those were only two of his many investments.

At the time of his death in 2018, Allen was one of the world's richest men worth a staggering $20.3 billion.

Allen also invested heavily in art and paid close attention to an eclectic, personal collection that is being sold early next month by Christie's auction house in Manhattan.

What makes this exciting is the chance to see his magnificent works for free. Altogether they're worth more than a billion dollars, but they're on display for one week starting Saturday, October 29.

It is art for the ages: a collection that spans centuries and includes works by Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, Andrew Wyeth, Louise Bourgeois and so many more.

A Botticelli from the 15th century will be auctioned off along with masterpieces by Jasper Johns from the 20th century. Paul Cezanne is reprinted and so is Paul Gaugin.

A single painting, "Verger avec cyprs" by Vincent Van Gogh is expected to fetch at least $100 million.

"It's an incredibly rare commodity in a private collection," said Alex Rotter, Christie's Chairman of 20/21 Art Department. "Most of them we know from famous museums."

The joy here is seeing with your own eyes why his art has stood the test of time.

"Van Gogh precisely puts the paint where he needs it and builds layers of colors that wouldn't work together under normal circumstances," Rotter said.

In all, 150 works will be sold, including a single photograph of the Flatiron Building by Edward Steichen.

The title of the sale is "Visionary," an apt description for Microsoft's Co-Founder.

"Paul Allen was thinking and living outside of categories so therefore his art collecting was all not bound to how you're supposed to do this," Rotter said.

Rotter calls the chance to view this collection for free, a "once in a lifetime opportunity" before most of this great art disappears into the private collections of very rich people.

"There are masterpieces that you will never have the opportunity to see again, never again," Rotter said.

Click here for details on how to view the collection.

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