Christie’s has announced final details of one of the most anticipated art world events of the spring season: the sale of the magnificent Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller. All of the estate proceeds will be directed to a dozen philanthropies Peggy and David Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes. A series of US and Asia highlights tours are underway, and tickets are offered for the special extended public exhibition of the collection at Rockefeller Center in New York from April 28 – May 8.
In total, the collection is expected to realize in excess of $500 million.
Public highlights exhibitions continue around the globe: Los Angeles, April 6 –12; Beijing, April 6 – 7; Shanghai, April 10 –11; New York, April 28 – May
West Coast collectors and jewelry enthusiasts will have the first look at the collection highlights through April 12, as Christie’s brought a selection of masterpieces and Rockefeller family jewels to its flagship West Coast gallery in Beverly Hills. The touring exhibition was curated with the tastes and interests of Christie’s clients in mind, with rare works by American artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, and Willem de Kooning exhibited alongside masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Paul Gauguin. In addition, Christie’s LA unveiled Diego Rivera’s rarely-exhibited large-scale master work, The Rivals, painted in 1931 aboard the ship carrying Rivera and Frida Kahlo to New York. A collection of jewelry owned by Peggy Rockefeller is included in the Los Angeles previews, featuring signed pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., and Raymond Yard, among others.
The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller comprises approximately 1,550 auction lots, including one of the largest and most important collections of decorative arts to come to market in decades. Christie’s will offer 900 lots via live saleroom auctions at its Rockefeller Center site on May 8, 9 and 10. A companion online sale – which opens for bidding worldwide on May 1– will feature an additional 650 lots organized across eight collecting themes, with estimates ranging from $100 to $10,000.
Christie’s Evening Sale of 19th and 20th Century Art is devoted to the astounding array of masterpieces of Impressionist and Modern Art in the Rockefeller Collection, including a Rose Period Picasso, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, originally from Gertrude Stein’s collection, Monet’s iconic Nymphéas en fleur, painted circa1914-1917, and Matisse’s sumptuous Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, painted in 1923.
English and European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations, Part I, will be highlighted by the extraordinary ‘Service Marly Rouge’ made for Emperor Napoleon I in 1809, a Chinese export porcelain service in the coveted ‘Tobacco Leaf’ pattern, a pair of Queen Anne walnut stools circa 1710, and a set of ten George III mahogany dining chairs circa 1760.
The second Evening Sale of the series is devoted to Art of the Americas, a comprehensive survey of masterworks by the leading American artists of the 20th Century including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Milton Avery, Thomas Hart Benton, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer, among others. The sale features Diego Rivera’s 1931 masterpiece, The Rivals, which was commissioned by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and was given to Peggy and David the year after. Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XIX from 1982 and Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington (Vaughan type) round out the offerings.
The Day Sale features a broad span of genres and eras, beginning with Impressionist and Modern Art, including works by Odilon Redon, Paul Klee, Kees Van Dongen, and Édouard Vuillard. The 19th Century European art section is highlighted by works from Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Édouard Manet. A fine selection of Post-War and Contemporary artists include Alexander Calder, Lucien Freud, Jasper Johns and Bridget Riley, underscoring the full breadth of David Rockefeller’s collecting, well into his later years.
English and European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations, Part II will present several pieces of painted satinwood furniture that had previously been at Kykuit, beautiful Gothic Chippendale dining chairs previously residing in the apartment at 740 Park Avenue, as well as a George III Mahogany breakfront secretaire cabinet. Porcelain includes two remarkable Chelsea plaice tureens, circa 1755, and a highlight of the selection of silver is an Irish monteith bowl by Thomas Bolton. The sale will also feature three carriages from the family stables, and a monumental English wicker picnic hamper by Asprey serving 12.
Travel and Americana covers objects and extraordinary treasures from Peggy and David’s global travels including works from Asia, Egypt, Syria, China, Korea, Japan, and India, along with items from the United States. The sale features a collection of more than 40 duck decoys. Highlights include a magnificent gilt-bronze figure of Amitayus, a gilt-bronze figure of Samantabhadra on an elephant, and an Ayyubid silver inlaid brass domed cylindrical incense burner made in Syria in the second-half 13th century – a fixture on David Rockefeller’s desk at Chase Manhattan Bank for decades.
In keeping with Peggy and David Rockefeller’s wishes, Estate proceeds from the Collection sales at Christie’s will be directed to the following philanthropies, which the Rockefellers supported throughout their lifetimes: American Farmland Trust, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Council on Foreign Relations, the David Rockefeller Fund, Harvard University, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve, the Museum of Modern Art, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller University, and The Stone Barns Restoration Corporation – Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, among others.