Christie’s has unveiled masterpieces from Paul Allen’s collection, including three works estimated to be worth $100 million each

A few weeks after it was revealed it had won the shipment of what will likely be the most expensive collection the art market has ever seen at auction, Christie’s rolled out more than a dozen additional highlights.

The collection in question comes from the late Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen, and comprises a total of approximately 150 works that are expected to fetch an unprecedented $1 billion in two separate live auctions beginning November 9. “comprehensive study of the art historical canon,” according to a statement from Christie’s.

The unveiling of the collection is more guarded and spun out than in recent memory. The initial announcement included two highlights: a Paul Cézanne landscape worth more than $100 million and a painting by Jasper Johns worth $50 million.

Since then, the art world has guessed (and searched old museum catalogs) to find out what else was in Allen’s star-studded collection. Nwow, details of 15 more works have been revealed, with most works with estimate on demand prices falling well into the nosebleed market area.

Vincent van Gogh, Orchard with cypress trees (1888). Image courtesy of Christie’s.

Three of the works — a Suerat and a Van Gogh, as well as the previously announced Cézanne — are estimated to be over $100 million each. Two others, a Klimt and a Gauguin, each have an estimate of at least $90 million.

“Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection,” as Christie’s has called the offering, presents art spanning 500 years and reflecting the depth and range of Allen’s tastes. All proceeds will be used for philanthropic causes in line with Allen’s wishes, Christie’s said.

In the late 1990s, Allen began sharing works from his collection publicly through often anonymous loans to museums around the world. At the time of his death, he was the 27th richest person in the world.

“It’s hard to imagine that this is the result of one man’s passionate pursuit of excellence, but Paul G. Allen was indeed a visionary and he was drawn to artists who shared his brilliance to shape our world in a new way.” see,” Marc Porter, Christie’s president of America, said in a statement,

Georges Seurat, Les Poseuses, Together (small version) (1888).  Image courtesy of Christie's.

Georges Seurat, The Poseuses, Together (small version) (1888). Image courtesy of Christie’s.

The paintings offered include Georges Seurat’s The Poseuses, Together (small version) (1888), with an unpublished estimate of over $100 million. The painting, the New York Times reported, passed through the hands of a collector who inspired Proust’s character Charles Swann, as well as the organizer of the famous 1913 Armory Show. It is certain to break the pointilist artist’s record at the public auction of $35.2 million, which was set in 1999.

The gap between the estimates of the many works and the existing auction records for the artists shows how rare it is to see art of this level of quality available all at once, especially in areas of the market where supply is extremely limited.

Paul Gauguin’s Pregnancy II (1899) has an estimate, also unpublished, of over $90 million. The artist’s auction record, set in 2006, is $40 million (though his works have reportedly sold privately for a whopping $300 million). The same $90 million estimate is also in effect for Gustav Klimt’s birch forest (1903). Allen purchased the painting, which originally belonged to Klimt portrait entrepreneur Adele Bloch-Bauer and her husband, from Christie’s in 2006 for $40.3 million.

Paul Gauguin, Motherhood II (1899).  Image courtesy of Christie's.

Paul Gauguin, Pregnancy II (1899). Image courtesy of Christie’s.

Also offered is Lucian Freud’s Large interior, W11 (after Watteau) (1981-1983) with an estimate of over $75 million. A rarely seen landscape by Van Gogh, Orchard with cypress trees (1888), painted in Arles, has an estimate of over $100 million.

Allen’s tastes included post-war, impressionism, the old masters, and much more; sales will too. A view of Claude Monet Waterloo Bridge, soleil voila (1899-1903) has an estimate somewhere over $60 million, and a painting from Venice by Edouard Manet, The Grand Canal in Venice (1874), has an asking price of over $50 million.

Georgia O'Keeffe, White Rose with Larkspur No.  1 (1927).  Image courtesy of Christie's.

Georgia O’Keeffe, White rose with delphinium no. 1 (1927). Image courtesy of Christie’s.

Three works offered by Paul Signac, a triptych by Francis Bacon, and a JMW Turner Venice seascape are each estimated to be worth more than $20 million. Other highlights include work by Rene Magritte, Louise Bourgeois, Agnes Martin and Georgia O’Keeffe.

A set of five panels by Jan Brueghel the Younger, collectively titled “The Five Senses”, has an estimate of $4 million to $6 million.

The previously announced landscape of Cézanne, Mount Sainte-Victoire (1888-1890), has an unpublished estimate of $120 million, making it the group’s most expensive work. According to the Artnet Price Database, the same work was sold in 2001 at Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg (now Phillips) for $38.5 million. The artist’s auction record currently stands at $60.5 million, way back in 1999.

Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest (1903).  Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Gustav Klimt, birch forest (1903). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Jasper Johns’s Small false start (1960) last hit the block in 1989, when it grossed $4.1 million. Important works by Johns are rarely auctioned; the artist’s public record, set in 2014, is $36 million for a 1983 flag painting. Privately, a 1958 work by Johns sold for a whopping $110 million in 2010.

Like the art market newsletter the canvas noted that competition for the right to sell Allen’s collection was fierce, but also, consistent with Allen’s discreet manner of collecting art during his lifetime, subject to extremely strict nondisclosure agreements.

The highlights will go on a worldwide tour ahead of the November auction, traveling to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Taipei, Shanghai and London before returning to New York City ahead of the sale.

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