Paul Cezanne’s La Montagne Sainte-Victoire from 1888-90 sold for $138 million at auction this month. The painting was the second highest piece sold at the November 8 auction of the art collection owned by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen was the largest single-owner sale in history. The work carried a presale estimate of $120 million and sold at Christie’s for $138 million, (hammer price with fees). “Sainte-Victoire became part of Cezanne’s identity, a veritable talisman of his innermost self.” The top selling piece was Georges Seurat’s Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version) from 1888 which achieved a record price for the artist of $149 million.
There were 60 artworks sold for an unprecedented $1.5 billion, well over the presale estimate of $1 billion to $1.38 billion. (The total includes auction house fees known as the buyer’s premium; the estimate does not.) Proceeds from the sale will go to philanthropy, according to executors of Allen’s estate, with causes yet to be disclosed.,
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
La Montagne Sainte-Victoire
oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 31 7/8 in. (65.2 x 81.2 cm.)
Painted in 1888-1890
La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, painted in 1888-1890, dates towards the end of the group, when the artist had moved away from the more classically constructed compositions of the early 1880s to instead depict a more radical and abstracted conception of the landscape. Presenting an unimpeded view of the mountain, this work is filled with a majestic visual drama, heightened by Cezanne’s revolutionary use of color. Myriad layers of strokes vibrate across the canvas, creating the perspective and compositional depth of the scene. One of the most vividly colored works of this series, this painting exemplifies the artist’s meticulous observation and masterful technique.Christie’s
Formerly in the esteemed collections of Auguste Pellerin, George Embiricos, and Heinz Berggruen, the present work is one of only two of this group to remain in private hands. Other paintings of the series are housed in museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, The Courtauld Gallery, London, and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Ambroise Vollard, Paris.
Auguste Pellerin, Paris (acquired from the above).
Jean-Victor Pellerin, Paris (by descent from the above, 1929).
Georges A. Embiricos, Lausanne.
Heinz Berggruen, Paris (acquired from the above, 1982); sale, Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, New York, 7 May 2001, lot 5.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
Live Auction 22010 Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection Part I, 8 Nov 2022
It was a busy week for art, November New York sales achieved record amounts at Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s with more than $1.4 billion worth of art sold. Which when combined with the Paul Allen sale brings the total to just over $3 billion.