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7 New Records at Christie's Rockefeller Collection Sale!

  • Claude Monet - Nymphéas en fleur, 1914-1917
  • Claude Monet - Nymphéas en fleur, 1914-1917
  • Georges Seurat - La rade de Grandcamp (Le port de Grandcamp), 1885
May 9, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

In order to achieve greater relevance and wealth, the passionate collectors carefully select and buy artworks. So when a famous and celebrated collection becomes accessible on the art market the stakes become really high the global scale. Such is the collection of the Rockefellers, Peggy and David, which is certainly not an ordinary gem. As a matter of fact, it represents perhaps one of the most outstanding collections of modern art privately owned.

It was gathered by the couple during their lifetime, and after the famous auction house Christie’s made a concession on the family estate, the collection went on sale, on May 8. The huge interest in the artworks resulted in the new world auction records.

A total of 34 bidders was registered from different continents, a large number of artworks was sold for sums of thousands, and millions, of dollars and in the rest of the text, certain comparisons are going to be pointed out in order to underline this precedent. Interestingly so, all the works sold at this auction will benefit charities that the Rockefellers have donated during their lives.

Pablo Picasso - Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, 1905
Pablo Picasso – Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, 1905. Oil on canvas, 60 7/8 x 26 in. (154.8 x 66.1 cm.). Sold for $115,000,000 in The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale on 8 May at Christie’s in New York

The Dominance of French Artists At The Auction

First, the work on paper by Pablo Picasso titled Pomme from 1914 was sold. Nine bidders were struggling to buy this piece which was a Christmas gift from the artist to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

Shortly afterward, the painting La table de musicien by the Cubist Juan Gris was sold for a sum of $31,812,500

The work Tigre jouant avec une tortue by Eugene Delacroix was bought by the Rockefellers for $7,762,290 back in 1998, yet it was resold at this point for $9,875,000. Corot’s Venise, vue du Quai des Esclavons realized $9, 009, 844 and has pitched the record for the artist, while the work of Armand Seguin titled Les delices de la vie, a four -panel screen dated in 1892 – 93, was sold for $7,737,500.

The seascape La Vague from 1888 was painted by Gaugin on the outstanding beach in Britanny and has achieved $35,187,500.

The following three lots were expected to raise an intense biding, and so it was for Henri Matisse’s Odalisque couchee aux magnolias from 1923, Nympheas en fleur by Monet, and Fillete a la corbeille fleurie from 1905 by Pablo Picasso. For the sum of $80,750,000 the Matisse painting was sold, which is a record for one of the founders of Impressionism. The competition lasted for almost 14 minutes after the extraordinary Monet was sold for $84, 687, 500, which is a record for this artist as well.

The mesmerizing painting Fillete a la corbeille fleurie from 1905 by Pablo Picasso is an absolute winner – it has achieved the best possible price of $115,000,000. Initially, the painting was estimated in the region of $100, 000, with bidding opening at $90, 000. It is not a wonder that the price went that high, since this particular work, a favorite of the Rockefeller couple, is marked as a turning point for the career of a then 23-year old painter.

Records set for Monet and Matisse in first Rockefeller evening sale

The Finals of The Bidding

The following bids were marked by the sophisticated works of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.

La rade de Grandcamp, painted in 1885, which is the essential work of the Neo-Impressionist movement, was sold for $34, 062, 500, while Signac’s canvas titled Portreieux. La Comtesse (Opus no. 191) achieved the price of $13,812,500. An astonishing record was set also with Les rues de Paris, panneaux pour Henry Bernstein: Seconde série, La Place Vintimille, work on a paper released by Edouard Vuillard.

As the auction was moving to its end, the auction record happened for a work by Giorgio Morandi, as well as the competition for the Murals I, II and III by Juan Miro, which was won with a price of $20,000,000.

Finally, the still life of Odilon Redon of simple title Fleur has set the world auction record for this artist as well.

The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale on 8 May at Christie’s in New York

The Records at The Christie’s Rockefeller Collection Sale

The first and the most important of a planned series of the Christie’s auction is one of the 19th and 20th-century artworks from the luxurious Rockefeller collection. The event gained a sum of amazing $646.1 million, and it is gained a title of the highest total for a single-owner auction. It has even conquered the $484 million gained in Paris in 2009 for the collection of the fashion con Yves Saint Laurent. 

Due to the great success of the auction, the son of Peggy and David, David Rockefeller, Jr. has stated:

It is challenging to express in words the many emotions our family is feeling as we celebrate the opening night of this sale week devoted to The Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection.

In addition to the impressions of the glorious night is also the statement of Marc Porter, Christie’s Chairman Americas, who stated:

The twin goals of education and philanthropy have driven this project and we have been so gratified with the engagement from global audiences from the moment we launched the sale in Hong Kong last November. The Rockefeller legacy has resonated strongly and we are thrilled with the results achieved for the first evening in this series of sales, already over our expectations.

Featured images: Claude Monet – Nymphéas en fleur, 1914-1917. Oil on canvas, 63 x 70 7/8 in. (160.3 x 180 cm.). Sold for $84,687,500 in The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale on 8 May at Christie’s in New York; Georges Seurat – La rade de Grandcamp (Le port de Grandcamp), 1885. Oil on canvas. 25 3/4 x 32 in (65.4 x 81.2 cm). Sold for $34,062,500 in The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale on 8 May at Christie’s in New York. All images via Christie’s, used for illustrative purposes only.