Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller is the auction of the century

As a prelude to 20th Century Week, Christie’s is auctioning over 1,500 pieces from the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller from May 8 – 10, 2018.

It’s being billed as “the auction of the century.”

David and his wife Peggy collected masterpieces.

The entire collection is being sold in several auctions:

  1. 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale
  2. English & European Furniture
  3. Ceramics and Decorations Part I
  4. Art of the Americas Evening Sale
  5. Fine Art Day Sale
  6. English & European Furniture
  7. Ceramics and Decorations Part II
  8. Travel and Americana

It is estimated to sell for well over half a billion dollars. The proceeds are a benefit to major non-profit organizations including Rockefeller University, Harvard University, and MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art.

David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller was the last living grandchild of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839 – 1937) who built Standard Oil.

David, the head of Chase Manhattan Bank, was a major financier, architect, and philanthropist in New York City. He helped New York City avoid bankruptcy in the 1970s. He built the Chase Manhattan building, an anchor of downtown, and helped plan the World Trade Center and Battery Park City. He gave over $1 billion to charity.

The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: 19th and 20th Century Art Evening Sale


The 19th and 20th Century Art Evening Sale is the big auction. The pre-sale estimate was $490 million.

Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen sold every lot for a total of $646 million dollars of art. Bidders came from 34 countries.

Evening Sale Highlights

Pablo Picasso, Pomme (1914)

Lot 1
(Spanish, 1881 – 1973)
Estimate $1,000,000 – $1,500,000
Price $3,972,500

This was a Christmas gift from Picasso to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

Juan Gris, La table de musicien

Lot 2
(Spanish – French, 1887 – 1927)
Price $31,812,500

Eugène Delacroix, Tigre jouant avec une tortue

Lot 3
(French, 1798 – 1863)
Estimate $7,000,000 – $10,000,000
Price $9,875,000

This is a world auction record price for Delacroix.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Venise, vue du Quai des Esclavons

Lot 4
(French, 1796 – 1875)
Estimate $8,000,000 – $12,000,000
Price $9,009,844


Paul Gaugin, La Vague (1888)

(French, 1848 – 1903)

Henri Matisse, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias

Henri Matisse 'Odalisque couchee aux magnolias' (1923). Courtesy of Christie's.

Henri Matisse ‘Odalisque couchee aux magnolias’ (1923). Courtesy of Christie’s.

Lot 8
(French, 1869 – 1954)
Estimate $70,000,000
Price $80,750,000

This is a new auction high for Matisse.

Claude Monet, Nymphéas en fleur

Lot 10
(French, 1840 – 1926)
Price $84,687,500

Monet’s lilies are beautiful, even more so if you squint your eyes to blur your vision and see like Monet’s blurred vision. The sale price is a new auction high for Monet.

Pablo Picasso, Filette à la corbeille fleurie (1905)

Pablo Picasso 'Fillette à la corbeille fleurie' (1905). Courtesy of Christie's.

Pablo Picasso ‘Fillette à la corbeille fleurie’ (1905). Courtesy of Christie’s.

Lot 15
(Spanish, 1881 – 1973)
Estimate $100,000,000
Price $115,000,000

This was the highest price in the sale. It is now one of the most expensive Picassos ever sold. Rockefeller bought it from the estate of Gertrude Stein.

Georges Seurat, La rade de Grandcamp (Le port de Grandcamp)

Lot 18
(French, 1859 – 1891)
Price $34,062,500

Paul Signac, Portrieux La Comtesse (Opus no 191)

(French, 1863 – 1935)
Price $13,812,500

Claude Monet, Extérier de la gare Saint-Lazare, effet de soleil

(French, 1840 – 1926)
Price $32,937,500

Joan Miro, Mural I, Mural II, Mural III

(Catalan Spanish, 1893 – 1983)
Price $20,000,000

Henri Matisse, Paysage de Collioure

(French, 1869 – 1954)
Estimate $6,000,000 – $9,000,000
Price $6,500,000

Wassily Kandinsky, Winterstudie mit Berg

(Russian, 1866 – 1944)
Estimate $3,000,000 – $5,000,000
Price $6,500,000

Edouard Manet, Lilas et roses

(French, 1832 – 1883)
Estimate $7,000,000 – $10,000,000
Price $12,968,750

Viewing the Exhibition

Christie’s turned a room into a garden and aviary with bird sounds to give the impression of the Rockefeller home in Pocantico Hills, NY. Over 75,000 people saw the exhibition.

Visiting Christie’s New York

20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020
(49th St between Fifth & Sixth Ave)
Rockefeller Center, Midtown, Manhattan

(212) 636-2000

Monday-Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 – 5 pm
Christie’s is open additional hours for auctions.


  • (B) (D) (F) (M) to 47-50 St Rockefeller Center
  • (N) (R) (W) to 49th St
  • (1) (2) to 50th St
  • (E) to 53rd St
  • (4) (6) to 51st St

For more information, visit


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