Rockefeller art collection breaks 22 world records at auction

The Guardian | Associated Press

Twenty-two world records have been set at a Christie’s auction, including the $832m total for the priciest private collection of artworks and other treasures, owned by Peggy and David Rockefeller. The late couple’s family is donating all proceeds from this week’s sale to charity. The final tally that ended Friday’s sale in New York is about twice the previous record of $484m from a 2009 Paris sale of designer Yves Saint Laurent’s estate. Christie’s said all of the more than 1,500 lots had sold, with buyers lured by the Rockefeller name that represented American success.

Prices reached record highs for seven artists and items including a porcelain set and a swan decoy. The top lot was a Picasso painting of a nude girl holding a basket of flowers that went for $115m, against a pre-auction estimate of $100m. A Monet canvas of his famed water lilies sold for $84m – surpassing the previous $81m high for the artist. A Matisse canvas depicting a woman in a Turkish harem went for a record $80.8m, topping the previous $48.8m for the artist. Christie’s bolstered the auction by guaranteeing the whole Rockefeller collection, not disclosing the minimum price at which a work would have to sell or buyers’ names…read more

Image: Monet’s Nymphea’s en Fleur sold for $84m. More than 1,500 lots were put up for auction at Christie’s, selling for $832m in total. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/EPA