Rockefeller Art Auction Went Crazy

22 world records set at sale of David and Peggy Rockefeller's art holdings
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2018 6:12 AM CDT
Rockefeller Art Auction Went Crazy
Oil-family scion David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy. Their art collection could raise more than $500 million for charity when it is auctioned by Christie's starting Tuesday evening, May 8, 2018 in New York.   (Christie's Images Ltd. 2018 via AP)

Twenty-two world records have been set at a Christie's auction, including the $832 million total for the priciest private collection of artworks and other treasures, owned by Peggy and David Rockefeller. The late couple's family is donating all proceeds from this week's sale to charity. The final tally that ended Friday's sale in New York is about twice the previous record of $484 million from a 2009 Paris sale of Yves Saint Laurent's estate. Christie's said all of the more than 1,500 lots had sold, with buyers lured by the Rockefeller name, reports the AP. Prices reached record highs for seven artists and items including a porcelain set and a swan decoy. The top lot was a Picasso painting of a nude girl holding a basket of flowers that went for $115 million, against a pre-auction estimate of $100 million. A Monet canvas of his famed water lilies sold for $84 million—surpassing his previous $81 million high.

A Matisse canvas depicting a woman in a Turkish harem went for a record $80.8 million, topping the previous $48.8 million for the artist. Christie's bolstered the auction by guaranteeing the whole Rockefeller collection, not disclosing the minimum price at which a work would have to sell or buyers' names. A well-known Gilbert Stuart oil portrait of George Washington sold for $11.6 million against an $8 million estimate—the most ever paid for his work. John Haynes Williams' whistling swan decoy went for more than $348,000, the most ever for such a decoy and the artist. A 256-piece Sevres dessert service commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $1.8 million, a world record for 19th century porcelain that fetched more than six times its high estimate.

(More Rockefeller family stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.