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Claude Monet, 'Nymphéas en fleur,' circa 1914–1917. Estimate in the region of $50 million
Claude Monet, 'Nymphéas en fleur,' circa 1914–1917. Estimate in the region of $50 million | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
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The Rockefeller Collection Goes on View Ahead of the Largest Auction in History

Picture of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 3 May 2018
Christie’s upcoming sale of Peggy and David Rockefeller’s estate is slated to become the largest and most valuable auction in history. Ahead of the landmark event, the late couple’s unparalleled collection of paintings, furniture, jewelry, and objets d’art is on view in Rockefeller Center.

Well over 1,000 treasures currently inhabit the flagship galleries of Christie’s New York ahead of a multi-part auction in May 2018. Priceless only in sentiment, the pieces included in The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller are expected to yield a minimum of $500 million, with speculation that profits could reach as high as the $1 billion mark.

Henri Matisse, 'Odalisque couchée aux magnolias,' 1923. Estimate in the region of $70 million
Henri Matisse, ‘Odalisque couchée aux magnolias,’ 1923. Estimate in the region of $70 million | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Diego Rivera, 'The Rivals,' 1931. Estimate: $5,000,000–$7,000,000
Diego Rivera, ‘The Rivals,’ 1931. Estimate: $5,000,000–$7,000,000 | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018

Christie’s will facilitate the sale of fine art masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Willem de Kooning, and Edward Hopper; rare Chinese ceramics; precious jewelry; and European furniture in six live auctions as well as “online sales of fine and decorative arts across eight collecting themes.” But until May 8, New Yorkers are given a rare glimpse inside this spectacular display.

Described by Christie’s as “a full-scale grand public exhibition throughout [their] three-story galleries in the heart of Rockefeller Center,” the tremendous collection is on view to the public via online reservations. “Designed as an immersive walk-through experience, this landmark exhibition is inspired in equal measure by the Rockefeller family homes in upstate New York, Maine, and Manhattan, as well as the gleaming ‘city within a city’ of Rockefeller Center,” Christie’s explained in a statement.

Pablo Picasso's 'Fillette à la corbeille fleurie' (1905) on view in the Rockefellers's Manhattan townhouse library at East 65th Street
Pablo Picasso’s ‘Fillette à la corbeille fleurie’ (1905) on view in the Rockefellers’s Manhattan townhouse library at East 65th Street | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
Pablo Picasso, 'Fillette à la corbeille fleurie,' 1905. Estimate in the region of $100 million
Pablo Picasso, ‘Fillette à la corbeille fleurie,’ 1905. Estimate in the region of $100 million | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018

David and Peggy Rockefeller’s collection stands “unrivaled in modern times,” the auction house notes, serving as as one of the most expansive and diverse holdings to date. And the world would expect nothing less of David Rockefeller’s colossal legacy as the youngest and last-surviving grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937), America’s first billionaire.

Before he died at the age of 101 in March 2017, David Rockefeller (1915–2017)—a pioneering banker, political liaison, and dedicated philanthropist in his own right—entrusted his and his late wife Peggy’s magnificent riches to Christie’s. In 2010 he signed the Giving Pledge, by which all proceeds of the auction will be directed to a dozen pre-selected charities that the couple avidly supported in life.

An aquamarine and diamond 'Leaves and Flowers' bracelet by Jean Schlumberger. Tiffany & Co. designed. Estimate: $40,000-$60,000.
An aquamarine and diamond ‘Leaves and Flowers’ bracelet by Jean Schlumberger. Tiffany & Co. designed. Estimate: $40,000–$60,000 | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018
A suite of peridot and diamond jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels, comprising a necklace, bracelet, ear pendants, and a ring. Estimate: $80,000-$120,000.
A suite of peridot and diamond jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels, comprising a necklace, bracelet, ear pendants, and a ring. Estimate: $80,000–$120,000 | © Christie's Images Ltd. 2018

“The Rockefeller family name is indelibly linked with the arts, culture, business, and philanthropy around the world—and it is a fitting tribute that the auctions will be held at Christie’s New York in the heart of Rockefeller Center,” said Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti in a statement. Known for their deep passion and continued patronage of fine and decorative art, David and Peggy Rockefeller were committed to their ever-growing collection.

“Eventually all these objects which have brought so much pleasure to Peggy and me will go out into the world and will again be available to other caretakers who, hopefully, will derive the same satisfaction and joy from them as we have,” David Rockefeller said.

The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller will remain on view by reservation only until May 8, 2018 at Christie’s New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020. Click here to reserve a viewing time, and click here for the full schedule of live and online auctions.