The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller makes history at Christie’s
Christie’s weeklong auction of the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller made history as the most significant charitable auction ever staged, bringing in $832.5 million, with 100 percent sell-through. The American segment, which took place on May 9, achieved $106.9 million.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the results of the sale,” says Paige Kestenman, Christie’s associate specialist in the American art department. “The enthusiasm for the category was evident, setting a new record for any American art sale, attesting to both the strength of the marketplace and the Rockefeller collection as a whole.”
Avaughan type portrait of George Washington, by Gilbert Stuart, was one of the sale’s runaway successes. It sold for $11.6 million, well over its high estimate of $1.2 million, and setting a new world auction record for the artist.“it’s truly one of the best portraits of Washington left in private hands,” Kestenman explains. “We saw several phone bidders and great participation in the room .there was a heated bidding battle that went on for several minutes.”
Several other artist world auction records were set during the sale. Diego Rivera’s The Rivals realized $9.8 million, more than tripling his previous auction record and setting a new world auction record for any Latin American artist. Morris Cole Graves, Stefan Hirsch, Charles Sheeler, Charles E. Burchfield and Fairfield Porter were also among the artists that broke previous auction records. Performing particularly well were works that had been commissioned by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, including Sheeler’s White Sentinel
(est. $1/1.5 million), which achieved $2.2 million.
The top lot of the evening was Willem de Kooning’s
abstract oil and charcoal Untitled XIX, achieving $14.2 million over an estimate of $6 million to $8 million. Other notable sales include John Singer Sargent’s San Geremia, selling for $9.1 million, and Edward Hopper’s Cape
Ann Granite and Georgia O’keeffe’s Near Abiquiu, New Mexico, both crossing the block for $8.4 million. Of the entire week of sales, David Rockefeller Jr. says,“we are grateful to the Christie’s team for the deep care and attention they took in presenting our parents’ collection to the world over this past year. this was an experience that beautifully and thoroughly conveyed Peggy and
David Rockefeller’s great passion for art, design, craftsmanship and beauty. Just as my siblings and our own children are full of pride and gratitude at the end of this historic week, we know our parents would feel the same.”
Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), George Washington (Vaughan type), 1795. Oil on canvas, 291/8 x 241/8 in., inscribed on verso: ‘D. Brien’. Artist World Auction Record. Estimate: $800/1,200,000 SOLD: $11,562,500
Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Where are the Boats?, 1883. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 13½ x 19 5/8 in., signed and dated lower right: ‘Winslow Homer/1883’. Estimate: $1.5/2.5 million SOLD: $4,572,500
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), San Geremia, 1913. Oil on canvas, 22 x 28 in., signed and dated lower right: ‘John S. Sargent 1913’. Estimate: $3/5 million SOLD: $9,087,500
Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Cape Ann Granite, 1928. Oil on canvas, 29 x 40¼ in., signed lower right: ‘Edward Hopper’. Estimate: $6/8 million SOLD: $8,412,500