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Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 18:14
Rockefeller's trove to get first auction viewing in HK
By Bloomberg
Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 18:14 By Bloomberg

The late David Rockefeller poses in a Paris bookshop April 11, 2006, during the presentation of his book "Memoires". Christie’s will unveil highlights of the vast collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller on Nov 24, 2017 in Hong Kong, according to a statement by the auction house on Nov 21, 2017. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

Art collectors in Asia will get the first look at masterpieces from the late David Rockefeller’s trove - including works by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet - which will be sold at auction next year.

Christie’s will unveil highlights of the vast collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller on Nov 24 in Hong Kong, according to a statement by the auction house Tuesday.

“It’s the first time we’ll launch a collection in Hong Kong,” Marc Porter, Christie’s chairman in the Americas, said in an interview. “We think Hong Kong is the best place to unveil it because of the density of collectors in Asia and the number of collectors in Impressionist and modern art in the region."

We think Hong Kong is the best place to unveil it because of the density of collectors in Asia and the number of collectors in Impressionist and modern art in the region

Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s 

The announcement follows Christie’s US$1.4 billion week of sales in New York where Asian clients were particularly active during the Impressionist and modern art evening auction, buying one-third of the lots, Porter said. A landscape by Vincent Van Gogh, which sold for US$81.3 million, went to a client of Rebecca Wei, president of Christie’s Asia. Another reason for the Asia focus: There are now more billionaires in Asia than in the US.

Rockefeller’s estate is selling more than 2,000 objects, including modern art masterpieces, Chinese export porcelain, American paintings and European furniture. Proceeds from the sales will benefit selected charities. Christie’s hasn’t revealed the estimated value of the entire collection.

A Rose Period Picasso nude, titled Young Girl with a Flower Basket, is estimated at US$70 million. The 1905 work, once owned by Gertrude Stein, hung in the library of Rockefeller’s townhouse on East 65th Street in New York, Christie’s said.

“Odalisque couchée aux magnolias,” a 1923 canvas by Matisse, is estimated at US$50 million. It features a reclining nude, loosely robed in white, amid flowers, fruit and rich patterns.

Monet’s Nympheas en fleur, depicting the pond in the artist’s Giverny garden, is estimated at US$35 million. The painting was recommended to Peggy and David Rockefeller by Alfred Barr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art, according to Christie’s. They purchased it in 1956.

(From left) Steven C. Rockefeller Jr., artist Huang Yue, David Rockefeller and Huang Simi at an exhibition. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

A Georges Seurat that the couple owned, La rade de Grandcamp, is estimated at about US$30 million and may test the artist’s auction record of US$35.2 million from 1999, especially since there haven’t been any major paintings by the artist at auction since prices have soared.

“It’s the last great, large-scale Seurat in private hands,” Porter said of the regatta scene.

David Rockefeller died in March. His wife, Peggy, died in 1996.

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