Art History

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Rockefeller Estate Auction Breaks Records

The collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller went up for auction recently at Christie’s auction house. This collection included the vast array of art and antiques that they had accumulated over decades and displayed their wide tastes. With over two thousand pieces in the collection, it was estimated to be worth a half billion dollars to begin with. That was before the publicity began and the celebrity factor was taken into account. The three day auction attracted a diverse crowd of bidders, each hoping to take home a piece of American history. Due to the notoriety of the Rockefeller name, the prices went up drastically when the actual auction commenced.

The collection includes art from famous masters, such as Picasso, Monet and Matisse, not to mention furniture and home décor from around the world. The world’s largest collection of fine china will also be up for sale and is expected to go for a very fine price. One of the highlights of the sale was Picasso’s “Young Girl With a Flower Basket,” painted during his Rose Period and estimated to be worth more than $100 million on its own. Other paintings were done by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe and Georges Seurat.

Both bidders in attendance, as well as those bidding over the phone and from overseas, were enthusiastic as the auction began and the energy stretched into all three days. As the bidding began it quickly became apparent that the estimated values of the items were going to be much lower than the final sale price. Each item went for an average of 30% more than the estimate predicted. One of the biggest surprises was a gold money clip, estimated to be worth about $1200 but actually sold at $75, 000.

By the end of the three day event, the auction brought in $828 million dollars. This auction has become the largest grossing estate auctions in history, beating out the Yves Saint Laurent auction in 2009 that went for $485 million. The proceeds of the sale will be going to the numerous charities that the Rockefeller’s supported during their lifetime.  The legacy of the Rockefeller’s will live on through these pieces and through the grand contributions they have made to American history.

We are proud to offer affordable reproductions by artists included in this estate, such as At the Moulin Rouge, La Goulue and Her Sister by Henry de Toulouse-Latrec which sold for almost $70,000. We also have a variety of works from  Paul Gauguin, Édouard Manet and Edward Potthast. Our fine quality reproductions are an affordable way to enjoy the luxury of fine art in your own home.


About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.