LUXURYCULTURE.COM - On Tour: The Collection of Max Palevsky


The computing pioneer Max Palevsky approached art as he did technology, relying on mathematics and philosophy to build a stellar collection that includes Fernand Léger paintings and Alexander Calder sculptures.

At Christie’s New York auction house this autumn, there is one collector whose name will appear on sale tickets throughout the prime season of art sales. “Provenance: The Collection of Max Palevsky” will be applied to lots from important Impressionist and Modern Art to antiquities and other disciplines. Some 250 works from the collection will be included in seven sales, which begin on October 26 after being exhibited in Paris (September 14-21), Hong Kong (October 2-6), London (October 9-14), and New York (October 21-27).

Max Palevsky (1924-2010) made his fortune as a computing pioneer. As one of the first proponents of small and medium-size business computers, he founded Scientific Data Systems, a company he would later sell to Xerox in 1969 for close to $1 billion before helping to found Intel Corp. With money no object, his later investments mirrored his interests: films (as a producer); politics (he gave generously to Democrat campaigns); publishing (he once owned a portion of Rolling Stone magazine); and, most notably, art.

Palevsky only began collecting art in later life, but bought astutely and with the same philosophy he approached business. As Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s America, comments: “Max Palevsky’s keen intellect, passion for mathematics, computer systems and philosophy is acutely reflected in the works he collected. From Fernand Léger, whose obsession with the machine age echoed Palevsky’s own, to Richard Lindner’s robotic women and Alexander Calder’s riveted steel sculptures, there is a sense of order and symmetry to the collection. Palevsky’s art collection offers insight to his genius.”

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