Saturday, December 23, 2017

"David Rockefeller and the Largest Art Auction of All Time"

Following up on "Marketing: David Rockefeller's Art Goes On Display in Hong Kong" on December 1st.
From Vanity Fair:
In March, David Rockefeller, the last surviving grandchild of robber baron John D. Rockefeller, died at the age of 101. As Christie’s prepares to auction his massive and prestigious collection, Vanity Fair looks into the collection’s origins.

When David Rockefeller died, last March, at the age of 101, the last living link to the Gilded Age was gone. The world’s eldest billionaire, he was the youngest and last-surviving grandchild of America’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller Sr. (1839–1937), one of the original robber barons. While the grandfather’s name became synonymous with capitalism, the grandson’s became synonymous with giving back.
“No individual contributed more to the commercial and civic life of New York City, over a longer period of time, than David Rockefeller,” said Michael Bloomberg at his memorial service, at the Riverside Church. “David set a new standard for what it means to be a leader in business, public service, and philanthropy.”

The longtime chief of Chase Manhattan Bank, Rockefeller was as much a statesman as he was a banker. Meeting a dozen sitting presidents, from Coolidge to Obama, and received like a head of state by world leaders such as Nikita Khrushchev and Zhou Enlai, he exerted considerable influence on global financial affairs as well as on U.S. foreign policy. His civic achievements in New York range from the architectural (building the 60-story One Chase Manhattan Plaza, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and helping to plan the original World Trade Center and Battery Park City) to the philanthropic (during his lifetime, he gave some $1 billion to charities) to the fiscal (he was instrumental in saving the entire city from bankruptcy in the 1970s).

Privately, with his wife, Peggy, to whom he was married from 1940 until her death, in 1996, he lived at a level of refinement that will probably never be seen again on this earth. Consummate connoisseurs, they collected masterpieces across myriad categories: 19th- and 20th-century European and American paintings, English and American furniture, European porcelain, Asian art, pre-Columbian ceramics, silver, textiles, decorative art, folk art, and Native American art. All these items they harmoniously integrated into their well-staffed, gorgeously sited, but never ostentatious houses, including Hudson Pines, a nine-bedroom Georgian-style, helipad-equipped country manor on 75 verdant acres overlooking the Hudson River in Pocantico Hills, New York (adjacent to the former 3,400-acre Rockefeller-family fiefdom); Ringing Point, a seven-bedroom summer place on 14.5 oceanfront acres in Seal Harbor, Maine (where his parents built their 107-room “cottage,” the Eyrie, on what over time grew to 1,500 acres); and Four Winds, a house designed for them by modernist architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and built on a 3,000-acre farming estate in Columbia County, New York. Then there was the 40-foot-wide, four-story, red-brick Colonial Revival-style town house on East 65th Street in Manhattan, replete with eight bedrooms and six staff bedrooms. “The staff this year still included a butler and three maids,” says a family friend. “It was running like it was 1948 till the end.”

For Christie’s Sake
This spring, following Mr. Rockefeller’s wishes, this legacy—some 1,600 lots of it—is going on the block, in a spectacular series of auctions at Christie’s in New York, in Rockefeller Center, appropriately. After the last hammer falls, the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller could take in, according to estimates, some $650 million, which would make it the highest-grossing auction in history. It’s the sale of the century.

With the couple’s five children, 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren already well provided for, all proceeds from the sale will go to a dozen designated nonprofit organizations, including Rockefeller University, Harvard University, the Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust....MUCH MORE
HT Art Market Monitor

If interested see also:
High-End New York Residential Asking Prices Coming Down (including David Rockefeller's place)

Or maybe "Ida M. Tarbell: 'John D. Rockefeller: A Character Study'" last reposted in April.
Here she describes David Rockefeller's great-great-grandfather:
...Godfrey Rockefeller, moved to that community from Mud Creek, Massachusetts. There are still alive in Tioga County many men and women who remember Godfrey Rockefeller. It is not a pleasant description they give of him — a shiftless tippler, stunted in stature and mean in spirit, but held to a certain decency by a wife of such strong intellect and determined character that she impressed herself unforgettably on the community....
The whisper number on David and Peggy's collection is $1 billion.