This Art Auction of the estate of David Rockefeller brought in a record $646 million on the very first night in May 2018, from the sale of part of the collection’s 19th and 20th-century art. All proceeds would go to charities that David and Peggy Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes.
Christie’s, in the Rockefeller Center right in the heart of New York City, was proud to be chosen to entrusted with the legendary collection and present the auction, which could be confirmed as the largest ever. Christie’s reportedly guaranteed $650 million in proceeds when auction houses vied for the right to handle the sale, which proceeded through the rest of the day and the next day as well as online.
Picasso’s Young Girl with Basket of Flowers (Fillette à la Corbeille Fleurie) went for the highest bid of $115 million with fees. Other high-priced proposals were $84.7 million for Monet’s Water Lilies in Bloom (Nymphéas en Fleur) and $80.8 million for Matisse’s 1923 Odalisque Couchée aux Magnolias.
David Rockefeller (1915-2017) was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the great industrialist and one of America’s first billionaires; his significant endeavors included spearheading the revitalisation and rebuilding of Wall Street in the 1950s and 1960s and leading Chase Manhattan Bank for over a decade to the expansion of the bank’s international operations into more than 100 countries.
David had continued with John D. Rockefeller, Senior’s ‘art of giving’ by signing the Giving Pledge in 2010. Through this pledge, David confirmed his plans to donate the majority of his personal wealth of art, European and English furniture, American decor and furniture, Chinese export porcelain, European ceramics, silver, and more from the many residences that he and Peggy (1915-1996) shared over their lifetimes or had handed down from previous generations.
He had stated that his family remains united in believing that those people who benefit the most from our nation’s economic system have the unique responsibility to give back to society in meaningful ways to provide for the cultural, educational, environmental, and medical causes that have long been supported by the family. He hoped that these objects which brought so much pleasure to Peggy and him would eventually go out into the world to other caretakers who will derive the same joy and satisfaction from them as they did.