Paul Allen, Microsoft Cofounder and Art Collector, Remembered

  • October 15, 2018 22:10

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Milton Avery, Dancing Trees , 1960. Oil on canvas, 52 x 66 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection © 2015 Mi l ton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Paul Allen, the multibillionaire technology entrepreneur and art collector, died on Monday at age 65. The cause was complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his family.

With his vast fortune built from cofounding Microsoft and investments, Allen was known for his philanthropy and varied interests. He quietly amassed an incredible art collection that spanned from Old Masters to contemporary art.

One of the first public glimpses of works from Allen's collection was the 2015 traveling exhibition "Seeing Nature," staged at the Seattle Art Museum, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.

Paul Allen at Flying Heritage Collection in April 2013
via Wikipedia

Through his investment company called Vulcan, Allen also was a driver of arts and culture in the Seattle area with public art installations, support of cultural institutions, and the founding of the Seattle Art Fair.

A guitarist and music fan, Allen was especially devoted to Jimi Hendrix which spurred the Experience Music Project in Seattle, later renamed the Museum of Pop Culture, housed in a guitar-like building designed by architect Frank Gehry.

At the time of his death, Allen was estimated to be the 46th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $20.3 billion, according to Forbes. Among his many significant gifts, Allen gave around $100 million to the arts, as noted in a 2012 Newsweek article.

In a statement, Allen's sister, Jody, said he was "a remarkable individual on every level."

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