Paul Allen: Largest art auction ever to sell Microsoft co-founder’s $1bn collection

Image credit: The Times

At the largest art auction in history, Paul Allen, the late co-founder of Microsoft, owned works of art estimated to be worth $1 billion (£847 million).

According to Christie’s auction house, the proceeds of the November sale will be donated to charity per Mr. Allen’s wish.

The collection includes pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Renoir, Botticelli, and more.

In 1975, Mr. Allen and his friend Bill Gates from boyhood co-founded Microsoft. At the age of 65, he died in 2018.

At least 150 works of art dating back 500 years will be sold during the auction. A painting by the French artist Paul Cezanne is anticipated to sell for more than $100 million (£85 million).

According to Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s, the auction would be special.

The sale of the Paul G. Allen Collection will be an occasion of unequalled importance because of the outstanding quality and range of the works; the commitment of all proceeds to philanthropy; and the inspirational spirit of Paul Allen, he said.

The collection “reflects the diversity of his hobbies, each with their mystique and beauty,” according to Jody Allen, Mr. Allen’s sister and the executor of the estate.

Mr. Allen left his job at Microsoft in 1983 after being diagnosed with the uncommon malignancy Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His relationship with co-founder Bill Gates had also soured, though it would take place later in his life. He was a member of the company’s board until 2000.

Mr. Allen and his sister Jody founded a private company, Vulcan Inc., to handle his business and charitable endeavours after undergoing successful cancer treatment. He still retained Microsoft shares as part of his multibillion dollar investment portfolio.

In 2010, he declared his intention to leave the majority of his assets to charity after his passing. According to Forbes magazine, he was the 37th richest man in the world at the time, with an estimated $13.5 billion (then £8.8 billion).

Non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s returned in 2009 after he received therapy for it, and the effects of it took his life in 2018.

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