‘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 over these past several decades.’
— David Rockefeller
Chinese Export ‘Tobacco Leaf’ service, circa 1775. Estimate: $150,000-250,000.
The collection of over 2,000 lots belonging to David and Peggy Rockefeller will soon be heading to London, Los Angeles and New York. The collection is thought to be the most valuable ever sold at auction, the current record being set by the Yves Saint Laurent sale eight years ago, which achieved $443m. As we patiently wait for dates to be released for the London leg of the tour we can look back to the highlights of the offerings displayed in Hong Kong and anticipate the addition of a silver category.
"Peggy and I have always enjoyed Chinese export porcelain" - David Rockefeller
David and Peggy Rockefeller owned a famous collection of Chinese export porcelain. David’s father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., also amassed a collection of Ming and Kangxi dynasty porcelain. Christie's specialist Becky Macguire said: ‘The truly wonderful thing about Peggy and David Rockefeller’s Chinese Export is that it was appreciated not just for its quality or rarity but for how it could be used to enrich their surroundings, whether for entertaining or just in daily life. Some they bought together and others came to them from family members, adding yet another layer of meaning to their enjoyment.’. Some highlights include a 'Tobacco Leaf' service, circa 1775, estimates at $150,000-250,000 (shown above) and a pair of Chinese export famille rose candleholders, Qianlong period (1736-95), estimated at $25,000-30,000 (shown below).
Whilst the extensive collection of Asian works of art and ceramics are undoubtedly interesting, the real stars of the show could be found in the impressionist and modern art categories by artists including Picasso, Gris, Monet, Manet and Matisse. Works include a rose period Picasso oil painting is expected to fetch around $70 million, as well as a Picasso terracotta dish which is expected to sell for around $150,000. A 1923 Henri Matisse oil painting of the artist's favourite subject, Henriette Darricarrere, is expected to break the current record for the artist, the current record also being held by Christie's at $33.6 million in 2007.
The only noticeable difference in what is expected in London and what was displayed in Hong Kong is a selection of silver. It is known that David and Peggy's collection favoured mainly English and American makers. Whilst Hong Kong holds a lot of sway over the impressionist and modern art markets, England has a buoyant market for traditional silver, which may suggest the omission from the Asian leg of the tour. Either way, judging from the rest of the items displayed so far we can certainly anticipate an interesting collection.
The collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller will be showing in London from the 21st February until the 8th March and in Los Angeles from the 5th to the 11th of April.
An incredible virtual reality simulation of the Hong Kong display can be found here.