After a 6-month campaign, 10 days of online sales and 3 days of dynamic live auctions at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, the total for the 1,500 objects from the prestigious and now almost mythical  The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller  reached $832,573,469/ £613,941,113, well exceeding initial expectations and establishing the highest auction total ever for a private collection at auction ( also by nearly doubling the previous record held by the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé, which totaled $443 million)

This also the most significant charity auction ever staged,  as all of the Estate’s proceeds from the this significant  auction  will be directed to a dozen philanthropies Peggy and David Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes, for the benefit of continuing scientific research, higher education, support for the arts, sustainable economic development, and land conservation initiatives, among others.


David Rockefeller, Jr. have expressed great pride at seeing his parents’ passion for great art and craftsmanship,  so lovingly displayed and enjoyed by so many visitors to Christie’s offices around the world, seeing all the operation as the best way their lifelong love for beauty, intended all an extended meaning (aestetic, but also cultural, moral and ethics) could be honored.

David Rockefeller, Jr. said:‘This week of auctions has exceeded our expectations in so many ways. Christie’s and our family had a shared financial goal of raising more than $500 million in estate proceeds for the 12 philanthropies our parents cared about so deeply, and it has been both humbling and deeply gratifying to see a sale total that reaches so far beyond that. These funds will provide very meaningful support to important institutions and foundations devoted to scientific research and higher education, support for the arts, foreign policy, and the conservation of coastal and agricultural lands. We are grateful to the Christie’s team for the deep care and attention they took in presenting our parents’ collection to the world over this past year. This was an experience that beautifully and thoroughly conveyed Peggy and David Rockefeller’s great passion for art, design, craftsmanship and beauty. Just as my siblings and our own children are full of pride and gratitude at the end of this historic week, we know our parents would feel the same.”

More than 80,000 people worldwide came to the views of the collection, which were held in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai and New York, and including the online sale, sale registrants came from 53 countries: It has been a real global historical event! The buyer geography of the sales was led by the Americas (73%), followed by Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India(18 %), and Asia (10%). New buyers in the sales accounted for 10 % of the buyers in the decorative arts live sales, and 61% of the buyers in the online sale, with 28 % of clients buying more than one lot online.

Let’s see some of the record-breaming and always so significant results 

On the first day of auction, opening on 9th of May, a packed saleroom witnessed numerous artist records broken in the 19th and 20th Century Art Evening Sale. For instance, the most-wanted Picasso’sPicasso’s Fillette à la corbeille fleurie,  realised $115,000,000, while the Monet’s Nymphéas en fleur, broke its previous record price realizing $84,687,500, as well as Matisse’s Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, which was sold for $80,750,000, as another significant artist auction record.

In addition to Monet and Matisse, artist world auction records were set  also for may other significant names of Modern art, as for Diego Rivera  with The Rivals, sold for  $9,762,500, (which also established a record for a work of Latin American Art), Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Armand Seguin, Giorgio Morandi, Odilon Redon, Gilbert Stuart, Charles Sheeler, Charles Ephraim Burchfield, Fairfield Porter, Stefan Hirsch, Morris Cole Graves, Elizabeth Strong-Cuevas and Saliba Doughy. 

Also Decorative Arts lots  went on auction very well, breaking some more records for the category: For instance, the  Napoleon’s Sèvres porcelain ‘Marly Rouge’ service  broke the world auction record for 19th-century porcelain, selling for $1,812,500 in English & European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations Part I. A large, Qianlong-period Chinese Export ‘Tobacco Leaf’ dinner service set a new auction record for a dinner service when it realised $1,152,500. And on the final day of live auctions, the Fine Art Day Sale  achieved $43,041,250 / £31,717,944.

English and European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations, Part II  totalled $7,980,750 / £5,881,172, with the top price being achieved for a set of six George III ‘Gothick’ Windsor armchairs, which sold for $336,500 against a high estimate of $80,000.

While in the  Travel and Americana  sale, the total for the auction was $11,636,375 / £8,575,074. Here the  top lot was a rare blue and white ‘Dragon’ bowl, which was acquired for $2,772,500.

Christie’s has been honoured to represent the Rockefeller Estate and we are proud to have exceeded expectations,” said Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s CEO. “As well as raising a truly outstanding amount for good causes, we have sent a clear message about our commitment to our clients. This was an innovative and creative campaign, one that saw new engagement with influential tastemakers, the sharing of powerful stories across our content and digital platforms. We have led the market in our operational delivery, from the launch in Asia, as we worked as a truly global, integrated team. The sales bode well for the art market in the next months and we look forward to our 20th Century sales here in New York.”

From Christie’s press release 

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