Six months after selling a Leonardo da Vinci for half a billion dollars, New York art auction season is back, gearing up to break new records with a magnificent Rockefeller collection and a Modigliani.

The collection was amassed by the late billionaire banker David Rockefeller, who died last year aged 101, and his wife Peggy.

In all, Christie’s is selling 1,600 items over three days, with an expected take of $600 million. The proceeds are going to charity.

The jewel in this collection’s crown is Picasso’s 1905 masterpiece “Fillette a la corbeille fleurie” (“Young Girl With a Flower Basket“). Its purchase by Gertrude and Leon Stein, along with two other Rose Period paintings, helped jumpstart the artist’s career.

Auguste Rodin’s Le Penseur, taille de la porte dit “moyen modèle” during a media preview at Christie’s May 3, 2018 in New York. Don EMMERT / AFP.
by Thomas Urbain

The Picasso alone is valued at $100 million, but the combined total is expected to smash the previous record for a collection set by that of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, which fetched $484 million in 2009.

For the first time, Christie’s this year will spread its spring sales over two weeks, twice the traditional length, kicking things off on Tuesday.

This comes after Christie’s sold da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” a 500-year-old depiction of Jesus Christ, for $450.3 million in November, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.


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