In 1983, Microsoft co-founder, Paull Allen, left the company after being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. In 2010, he famously announced he would be leaving the majority of his wealth to charity after his death. According to Forbes, he was the 37th richest man in the world at the time of the pledge, worth an estimated $13.5 billion. Eight years later, the disease had returned with a vengeance, and Allen sadly passed away at aged 65. Now, in an attempt to his honor his wishes, his entire art collection will be sold at the largest auction in history.
After leaving Microsoft, Allen continued with his life of success and fortune. Despite his complicated relationship with co-founder Bill Gates, he remained on the Microsoft board until 2000. After triumphantly beating the disease, he and his sister Jody Allen went on to establish their own private company, Vulcan Inc., which effectively combined his business and philanthropic agendas. In addition to his valuable Microsoft shares, his investment portfolio was now worth billions of dollars. And a significant portion of this was his art collection, worth about $1 billion. That's right.
What can be expected from the historical Paull Allen auction? According to Jody Allen, his sister and executor of the estate, the incredible collection "reflects the diversity of [Allen's] interests, with their own mystique and beauty." Guillaume Cerutti, Christie's auction house CEO, explained the sale includes art by Botticelli, Renoir, David Hockney, and Roy Lichtenstein. In total, there will be 150 pieces of art on sale, with some dating back as far as 500 years ago. A particular highlight will be the Montagne Sainte-Victoire by French painter Paul Cezanne, valued at more than $100 million. In line with Allen's wish, proceeds will be donated to charity.
"The inspirational figure of Paul Allen, the extraordinary quality and diversity of 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," explained Guillaume Cerutti, Christie's CEO. "Art was both analytical and emotional to him." The auction will take place at Christie's Auction House in New York in November 2022. Until then, visit their website for more details.