Christie’s announced this morning that the sales of David Rockefeller’s art and tangible assets will take place in the Spring of 2018. The contents of the estate or its estimated value won’t be revealed until the Fall. Christie’s took the unusual step of guaranteeing the estate some time in the last few years while the centenarian Rockefeller was alive and able to participate in the discussion.
Katya Kazakina had this quote in her report as many wait to learn what works were contained in the Rockefeller homes:
“It will be the sale of this century and the last as well,” said David Norman, a private art dealer and former co-chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department. “Every work lives up to the Rockefeller name. It’s a perfect match of a great historic family and a great historic collection.”
Otherwise, news reports are fairly uniform in following the details from Christie’s release:
The Estate of David Rockefeller, the youngest son of American philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and art patron Abby AldrichRockefeller, will sell at Christie’s the personal collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, which is estimated to include over 2,000 individual items and spans numerous collecting categories, in order to benefit a dozen charities. The sales will be conducted in keeping with DavidRockefeller’s pledge to direct the majority of his wealth to philanthropy and provide for the cultural, educational, medical, and environmental causes long supported by both David and Peggy Rockefeller.
A series of dedicated sales is slated for spring 2018 at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center in New York City.
But the Wall Street Journal went beyond some of the reflexive guesses about the sale topping the records set by the Yves Saint-Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale and the Alfred Taubman sale that briefly crippled Sotheby’s stock. Both of those sales were just under the round $500m level.
The Wall Street Journal triangulates from Rockefeller’s will to provide some confirmation of the long-discussed existence of a global guarantee for the estate. Industry rumor has had it above the $515m level of the Taubman estate. Here’s the Journal’s thinking:
Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas, said the house wants to finish cataloguing everything before providing details on art or an overall estimate. Mr. Rockefeller’s will said the banker expected his estate’s liquidated assets to top $700 million. A former Christie’s executive with knowledge of the deal said the house also expects the sale of the collection to cross that bar.
The WSJ goes on to speculate that the Rockefeller provenance will add value to the objects. Indeed, when Rockefeller sold his Rothko in 2007, Nicholas Maclean was quoted in the press suggesting that the recording setting $72m sale was more about the buyer getting a Rockefeller than a Rothko. The same dynamic was seen in the YSL sale where many rarely collected objects far outsold their estimates. The same theme was seen in the sales of Andy Warhol’s personal collection and Jacqueline Onassis’s personal effects where there were lines around the block at Sotheby’s to view the sale.