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Rockefeller Collection Rocks The Art World

Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz: the amazing, dazzling, remarkable Rockefeller Collection is going on the auction block at Christie’s in the next month. Made up of photography, jewelry, classic and modern paintings and sculpture, as well as furniture, ceramics, and decorative items, the sale will benefit selected charities that Peggy and David Rockefeller supported in their lifetime.

David Rockefeller, the last surviving grandson of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, vowed in a Giving Pledge to donate the bulk of his wealth to charity upon his death, stating that “those who have benefited most from our nation’s economic system have a special responsibility to give back.”

One of the highlights of the event is sure to be the sale of “Young Girl with a Flower Basket” (Fillette à la corbeille fleurie) painted by Pablo Picasso in 1905. According to Christie’s, the provenance of the painting is impeccable: it was acquired from the artist by the 20th Century Gallery in Paris; from there by Gertrude and Leo Stein; from Leo Stein by Gertrude Stein; from Gertrude Stein’s estate by Syndicate of The Museum of Modern Art, New York (of which David Rockefeller was a member); and from the Syndicate by Peggy and David Rockefeller in 1968. The Rockefellers displayed the painting in the library of their 65th Street townhouse in New York.

While “Young Girl” is unlikely to surpass the $450 million paid at auction last year for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” it is projected to sell in the $80 to $100 million range and could easily exceed the $179,365,000 paid for Picasso’s 1955 painting “Les Femmes d’Alger.” In any case, it’s sure to generate a lot of excitement in the art world as well as among the charities that benefit from the sale.

The collection will be on exhibit in New York April 8 – May 8 and a series of live auctions will be held at 20 Rockefeller Plaza in New York May 8-10 (“Young Girl” is in the May 8 auction), with online bidding available May 1-11.

If you’re quick, you may get a look at select items from the collection at Christie’s Los Angeles, 336 North Camden Drive in Beverly Hills, on display through Thursday, April 12 only.

Joyce Rey
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