May 7, 2018; CNBC
It is projected to be the richest sale ever of a private art collection, and all of the proceeds will go to charities. The personal art collection of David Rockefeller and his wife, Peggy, comprising more than 2000 pieces, will start today and is estimated to be worth between $500 million and $1 billion. The previous record for sale of a private collection was for the Yves Saint Laurent collection, which brought $443 million in 2010.
David Rockefeller, the last surviving grandchild of John D. Rockefeller, died in March 2017 at 101 years old, leaving behind a vast charitable legacy that was carefully planned during his life and based in part on the liquidation of his belongings at his death. Picasso, Gauguin, Monet and Van Gogh are among the artists featured in the collection to be auctioned by Christie’s with the hauntingly beautiful Girl with a Basket of Flowers by Picasso likely to go for more than $100 million and Water Lilies in Bloom by Monet priced to bring between $50 million and $70 million.
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More than a dozen charities, including the Museum of Modern Art, founded by Rockefeller, are set to receive the proceeds from the sales. Other recipients will include Harvard University, the Council on Foreign Relations, American Farmlands Trust, and Stone Barns Restoration Corporation. Also set to receive some of the proceeds are three Rockefeller funds, including the Rockefeller Brothers fund, about which we have written extensively over the years.
According to the New York Times, David Rockefeller, who was a signer of the Buffet/Gates Giving Pledge, gave away between $20–$30 million a year toward the end of his life, His houses were previously sold with proceeds going to charity, and their furnishings will be sold at the upcoming auction along with the art. For those of you wishing to participate, some bric-a-brac is priced as low as $100.—Ruth McCambridge