Rockefeller art auction set to become the most valuable private sale ever

Key Points
  • The personal art collection of David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy goes under auction.
  • The personal collection includes masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh.
  • Some estimates put the total value of the 3-day sale at $1 billion.
David Rockefeller Jr. hopes whoever buys his family's Matisse will let him come visit

The sprawling personal art collection of David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy goes under auction Tuesday and could become the most valuable single-owner collection in history.

It is tipped to surpass the current record set by the Yves Saint Laurent collection that generated $443 million in 2010. Forecasts for the Rockefeller collection of more than 2,000 pieces, which includes jewelry, furniture, silver, ceramics and porcelain as well as the art, range wildly between $500 million and $1 billion.

Masterpiece paintings by the likes of Picasso, Gauguin, Monet and Van Gogh are the most eye-catching. The estimate for Fillette a la Corbeille Fleurie (Young Girl with a Basket of Flowers) by Picasso is likely to be the most sought after, with a guide price in excess of $100 million.

Monet's Nympheas en fleur (Water Lilies in Bloom) is provisionally priced between $50 million and $70 million.

“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet

The sale will be conducted by Christie's online and at auction rooms in the Rockefeller Center in New York. A series of auctions will take place between May 8 and 11.

Proceeds from the lots will go to more than a dozen charities including the Museum of Modern Art, which was founded by the Rockefeller family.

David Rockefeller, who died in 2017, was an American banker and former chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation. Forbes estimated his fortune at $3.3 billion at the time of his death.

He was the grandson of industrialist John D. Rockefeller who founded the Standard Oil Company and became one of America's first billionaires.