Rockefeller art auction nets record $A1bn

Henri Matisse’s “Odalisque reclining with magnolias” has sold for a record $US80.8 million.Twenty-two world records have been set at a Christie’s auction, including the $US832 million ($A1.1bn) total for the priciest private collection of artworks and other treasures, owned by Peggy and David Rockefeller.
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The late couple’s family is donating all proceeds from the sale to charity.

The finally tally that ended Friday’s sale in New York is about twice the previous record of $US484 million from a 2009 Paris sale of designer Yves Saint Laurent’s estate.

Christie’s said all of the more than 1500 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 $US115 million, against a pre-auction estimate of $US100 million. A Monet canvas of his famed water lilies sold for $US84 million – surpassing the previous $US81 million high for the artist.

A Matisse canvas depicting a woman in a Turkish harem went for a record $US80.8 million, topping the previous $48.8 million 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.

A 256-piece Sevres dessert service commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $US1.8 million, a world record for 19th century porcelain that fetched more than six times its high estimate.

All prices include buyers’ premiums.

Peggy Rockefeller died in 1996, and David Rockefeller in 2017 at the age of 10. He was the last surviving grandson of the oil baron John D Rockefeller.

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