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Art manipulators hold a painting titled ‘La montagne Sainte-Victoire’ by Paul Cezanne (estimate on request: over $120,000,000) during a photo call to present highlights from the estate of the philanthropist and co- Microsoft founder Paul G. Allen in London on October 14, 2022.

Wiktor Szymanowicz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Christie’s sold 150 works from the Paul G. Allen collection for more than $1.6 billion on Wednesday and Thursday, as wealthy collectors around the world shrugged off economic and crypto worries to invest in trophy artworks.

Five paintings crossed the $100 million mark on Wednesday, including the evening’s bestseller, “Les Poseuses, Ensemble” by Georges Seurat, which sold for $149.2 million. Several works have sold for three or four times their estimates, with several artists setting auction records, including Vincent van Gogh, Edward Steichen and Gustav Klimt.

The $1.62 billion sales total shattered the previous record for the most expensive collection ever to be auctioned, set by the Harry and Linda Macklowe Collection auctioned at Sotheby’s for $922 million. Total sales included $1.5 billion from Wednesday night and just over $100 million from Thursday’s sale.

The parade of eight- and nine-figure sales suggested that the world’s wealthy still view the art of masterpieces as a hedge against inflation and perhaps a safer store of value than stocks and stocks. increasingly volatile cryptocurrencies.

“It shows that for items of this quality and rarity, people will spend whatever it takes to get them,” said Andrew Fabricator, COO of mega-gallery Gagosian.

The collection of Allen, the late co-founder of Microsoft, was a treasure trove of masterpieces spanning 500 years. All proceeds will go to charity, as Allen signed the Giving Pledge promising to leave at least half of his fortune to charity.

Allen’s keen eye for great art also made great investments. He bought Gustav Klimt’s “Birch Forest” for $40 million in 2006. It sold on Wednesday for $104 million.

“La Montagne Sainte-Victoire” by Paul Cezanne is auctioned from the collection of Paul Allen at Christie’s in New York on November 9, 2022.

Robert Frank | CNBC

“It just goes to show that if you have the right patience, means and guidance, you can really build an asset in a hard-to-attack art collection,” Maker said. “The winds of change don’t really affect it to the degree you find in other asset classes. It’s been proven time and time again.”

La Montagne Sainte-Victoire by Paul Cézanne sold for $137.8 million. Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Orchard with Cypres’ sold for $117 million and set a new record for van Gogh at auction, the last in 1990. Paul Gaugin’s ‘Maternite II’ sold for 105.7 million dollars.

“Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau)” by Lucian Freud, considered one of his greatest masterpieces, sold for $86.3 million. One of Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” paintings has gone for $64.5 million.

Bidding was strong across the world on Wednesday. Christie’s said bids came from 19 countries, and art experts said Seurat, van Gogh and Klimt likely all went to Asian buyers.

Several works sold for multiples of their estimates. A famous Edward Steichen photo of the Flatiron building in New York sold for $11.8 million, making it the second most expensive photograph ever sold and smashing the $2-3 million estimate.

An Andrew Wyeth painting called ‘Day Dream’ has been the subject of a heated bidding war, selling for $23.3 million, well above its estimate of $2-3 million . Despite collectors’ current obsession with contemporary art, several of Allen’s old masters have reached eight figures. A work by Botticelli entitled “Madonna of the Magnificat” was sold for 48 million dollars.

Visitors look at a painting entitled “Virgin of the Magnificat” by Alessandro Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli (estimate on request: more than $40,000,000) during a photocall to present the highlights of the estate of the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Paul G. Allen in London on October 14, 2022.

Wiktor Szymanowicz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images