Works by Vincent Van Gogh, Lucian Freud, Jasper Johns, Gustav Klimt, Georgia O’Keefe, and other major artists, are a part of the $1 billion collection of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. With this in mind, the auction will take place at Christie’s this fall. Expectations are that “The Virgin Mary” will fetch more than $40 million, making it one of the most expensive works of Allen’s estate.
The Virgin Mary, imposing and intimate
News of Allen’s estate coming to auction is first reported in August, who’s always been very discreet about his collection. Also, this auction could be the most prized sale of a single owner collection ever to come to auction. Allen designated his sister Jody Allen as sole executor of his estate.
The sale proceeds will go toward philanthropic causes Allen established before he passed away in 2018. The Virgin Mary (Madonna of the Magnificat) will appear next to pieces by Seurat and Van Gogh, which could sell for more than $100 million.
“This is an image that defines the popular notion of Botticelli as an artist,” Christie’s London-based Old Masters specialist Andrew Fletcher said. She also described the painting as “imposing and intimate.”
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Botticelli produced “Madonna of the Magnificat” in the late 1480s. Allan possessed this painting since 1999, when he acquired it privately for an undisclosed price. The painting was often displayed in museums. The last one was in 2020 exhibition “Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Seattle Museum of Art.”
If Madonna of the Magnificat reaches its estimate at this auction, it will be among the top three works by the artist to sell.