Small False Start painting

Paul Allen, the founder of Microsoft, sells art for $1.6 billion

Cezanne, Seurat, and van Gogh’s works sold for a record-breaking $1.6 Billion during Christie’s auction of Paul G. Allen’s collection.

All 155 artworks that were up for auction in New York on Wednesday and Thursday sold. Five paintings sold for more than $100 million.

Georges Seurat’s pointillist “Les Poseuses, Ensemble” (Petite edition) was sold Wednesday night for $149.2million, the highest price. The Barnes Collection in Philadelphia has a larger version of “Les Poseuses”.

Christie’s experts stated that Allen was particularly interested in pointillism. This revolutionary technique, which involves dots of color that are combined to create an image, was created by Seurat & Paul Signac.

According to the auction house, Allen stated that he was attracted to pointillism and Jasper Johns’s numbers work. These are made by breaking down something into its components — like numbers or bytes — but in a different language.

Other highlights of Wednesday’s sale were Paul Cezanne’s “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” which sold at $137.8million, and van Gogh’s landscape “Verger with cypress” which sold at $117.2 million.

“Never before had more than two paintings sold for $100 million, but tonight we saw five,” Max Carter, vice-chair of 20th-century and 21st-century arts at Christie’s stated in a news release.

18 works were sold at record prices by artists who ranged in age from Jan Brueghel the Younger (17th-century Flemish painter) to Edward Steichen (20th-century photographer).

Thursday’s top seller was Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, who sold “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X”, which cost $8.4million.

Allen’s estate will choose the philanthropies to receive all proceeds.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft along with Bill Gates in his youth, died from complications caused by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He donated more than $2B to causes such as ocean health and homelessness, and advanced scientific research during his lifetime.

The previous auction record for single-evening sales of $852.9 Million was set in 2014 at Christie’s New York contemporary art sale.

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