Famed Rockefeller collection premiers in Hong Kong tomorrow

Claude Monet, Nymphéas en fleur, oil on canvas, (ca. 1914-1917)

If you missed the chance to seize your hands on the last big art piece – Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi – now is your time to make up for it with exclusive pieces from David and Peggy Rockefeller’s collection.

Christie’s unveiled the first highlights from the collection in Hong Kong, where an exhibition showcasing the masterpieces will open on November 24, before travelling to New York, Los Angeles and London to reveal new works at each location.

With all the proceeds from the collection – which will be sold in New York next Spring – benefiting select charities, the sale will mark the most valuable philanthropic auction ever presented, with a conjectured value of US$700 million.

Reflecting the late couple’s deep love for Modern and Impressionist Art, the first highlights include Calude Monet’s Nymphéas en fleur (estimated at around US$35 million) and Pablo Picasso’s Fillette à la corbeille fleurie (estimated at around US$70), a Rose Period masterwork from Gertrude Stein’s private collection.

The collection is also set to break another record with Henri Matisse’s Odalisque couchée aux magnolias (estimated at around US$50 million), which will be the highest-valued work by the artist to be offered at auction. Depicting a resting female figure, the early 20th century nude painting has long been regarded as one of the French master’s most significant works in private hand.

Henri Matisse, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, 1923

“We are delighted to share this first exhibition which is designed to reintroduce these masterpieces to the world after generations of care and stewardship by the Rockefeller family. Our decision to begin the tour in Asia is in keeping with the Rockefeller family’s long commitment and philanthropic ties to the region, dating to John D. Rockefeller, Sr.’s first charitable gift to China in 1863,” said Christie’s Americas Chairman Marc Porter in a statement.

Among the most significant Chinese works of art in the collection is a bronze figure of Amitayus, the god of long-life in Chinese Buddhism, ordered by the Kangxi Emperor (reigned 1662-1722). Representing the glorious past of imperial China, the piece’s estimated value is between US$400,000 and US$600,000.

The first stop of the exhibition will also feature works from celebrated artists Eduard Manet, Paul Gaugin and Edward Hopper, among others.

The exhibition runs from 24-27 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

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