Christie’s New York kicks off one of the most anticipated auctions of the season with its evening sale of 19th and 20th century art from the David and Peggy Rockefeller collection. More remarkable even than the overall estimate of more than $500m (for 1,600 lots in sales spanning 7-11 May) is that all proceeds will be donated to selected charities, in accordance with the couple’s wishes. As David, who died in March 2017, wrote in a prelude to the catalogue, “Beauty is not, of course, a solution to the pressing problems of hunger, poverty, and strife that plague the world today, and the lover of beauty cannot and should never reduce one’s sense of responsibility to one’s fellow [human]. On the contrary, I believe that the creative possibilities presented by beauty in art should inspire us to seek at least equally creative approaches toward achieving a harmonious society.”
44 lots range from a 1940 Giorgio Morandi still life on the Modern end and reach back through many prime Impressionist pieces to a 1862 Eugène Delacroix canvas, Tigre jouant avec un tortue (Tiger playing with a tortoise). Will the laws of the jungle apply as collectors and Christie’s reps duke it out over works by Picasso, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse? Art market editor Sarah P. Hanson is live-tweeting the highlights.