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Auction of Rockefeller’s paintings could fetch $1BILLION

  • David Rockefeller's art collection is set to be sold in one of the greatest auctions of all time
  • The sale comes after the billionaire's death in March at the age of 101
  • The collection is expected to fetch $700 million (£520 million) but the rarity of the items could see them top $1 billion

By Chris Hastings Art Correspondent For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 19:22 EST, 30 December 2017 | Updated: 19:45 EST, 30 December 2017

Among Rockefeller's collection is Picasso’s Young Girl With A Flower Basket, which has an estimated price of $70 million (£52 million)

Among Rockefeller's collection is Picasso’s Young Girl With A Flower Basket, which has an estimated price of $70 million (£52 million)

His name was a byword for wealth, and now the peerless works of art that David Rockefeller amassed with his vast fortune are to be sold in what is set to be the greatest auction of all time.

Boasting paintings by Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Seurat and Gauguin that once decorated the walls of the billionaire’s home, the collection is conservatively expected to fetch $700 million (£520 million).

However, given the rarity of the items, the sale – which follows Rockefeller’s death aged 101 in March – could achieve far more, even topping $1billion.

Highlights in the May sale include Picasso’s Young Girl With A Flower Basket, which has an estimated price of $70 million (£52 million); Matisse’s 1923 work Odalisque With Magnolias, which is valued at $50 million (£37 million); and Claude Monet’s Nympheas En Fleur (Lilies In Flower), which has a price tag in the region of $35 million (£26 million).

Seurat’s harbour scene La Rade De Grandcamp, which dates from 1885 and which is one of the artist’s few remaining works in private hands, is expected to fetch $30 million (£22 million).

In addition to the paintings there are other items of historical interest, including a porcelain dessert service made for Napoleon, expected to fetch $250,000 (£185,000).

Decorated with flowers and butterflies, the service was among household effects Napoleon took with him into exile on Elba. The collection was begun by previous generations of Rockefellers – who made their money in oil – and then added to by David and wife Peggy.

Claude Monet’s Nympheas En Fleur (Lilies In Flower), has a price tag in the region of $35 million (£26 million). The sale follows Rockefeller'd death in March at the age of 101Claude Monet’s Nympheas En Fleur (Lilies In Flower), has a price tag in the region of $35 million (£26 million). The sale follows Rockefeller'd death in March at the age of 101

Claude Monet’s Nympheas En Fleur (Lilies In Flower), has a price tag in the region of $35 million (£26 million). The sale follows Rockefeller'd death in March at the age of 101

Matisse’s 1923 work Odalisque With Magnolias, which is valued at $50 million (£37 million). The sale of his artwork could top $1 billionMatisse’s 1923 work Odalisque With Magnolias, which is valued at $50 million (£37 million). The sale of his artwork could top $1 billion

Matisse’s 1923 work Odalisque With Magnolias, which is valued at $50 million (£37 million). The sale of his artwork could top $1 billion

Seurat’s harbour scene La Rade De Grandcamp, which dates from 1885 and which is one of the artist’s few remaining works in private hands, is expected to fetch $30 million (£22 million)Seurat’s harbour scene La Rade De Grandcamp, which dates from 1885 and which is one of the artist’s few remaining works in private hands, is expected to fetch $30 million (£22 million)

Seurat’s harbour scene La Rade De Grandcamp, which dates from 1885 and which is one of the artist’s few remaining works in private hands, is expected to fetch $30 million (£22 million)

Details of the sale have sent the art world into a frenzy. One noted art collector and philanthropist, US businessman Ronald Lauder, exclaimed: ‘I have three categories of art: “Oh”, “Oh my” and “Oh my God”. This is all “Oh my God”.’ He added of the Rockefellers: ‘Whatever I saw in their houses was the finest example of its type. The best work that that artist did.’

A total 1,600 lots of fine art and furnishings will be sold off by Christie’s in New York. David Rockefeller, who was chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation, was a larger-than-life figure in the mould of the fictitious Citizen Kane.

As a friend to successive US Presidents and countless foreign leaders, he exerted considerable influence on US foreign policy. But both he and his wife Peggy, who died in 1996, were passionate about art and built up an extensive collection.

Michael Daley, director of Artwatch UK, said: ‘I dare say [the works] will fetch more than the estimates in the present climate.’ Proceeds from the sale will go to good causes supported by Rockefeller.

Original Article

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