Everything You Should Know About the Rockefeller Art Collection

Staying true to the Rockefeller legacy, David Rockefeller is still breaking records even after his death last year. The last surviving grandson of America’s first billionaire John D. Rockefeller, David Rockefeller’s private art collection recently became the most valuable single-owner private sale in American history, with more than 1,500 pieces being auctioned off in a four-day period. The impressive collection included works by Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso.


Though now considered one of the greatest art collectors of the 20th century, Rockefeller had no interest in art collection until Marga Barr, wife of the Museum of Modern Art’s first director, visited his home in 1948 and 
insulted the art he had on the walls. After that, Rockefeller and his wife Peggy decided to increase the quality of art they displayed in their home. Barr and her husband helped educate the Rockefellers about late 19th-century and early 20th-century artwork and offered them guidance as they started to acquired Impressionist and modern pieces.

 

The massive collection contains more than just paintings; the Rockefellers also collected furniture and porcelain, including a 256-piece Sèvres dessert service set that Napoleon brought with him after being exiled to Elba. The set sold for $1.8 million, setting a record for highest price paid for 19th-century porcelain.

As a child, Rockefeller’s father expected he give one-third of his allowance to charity. The importance of giving back to others was a lesson stayed with him until his death; all of the money raised at the auction will go to various nonprofit organizations close to Rockefeller’s heart, including the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University, Rockefeller University and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.


After the four-day auction concluded,
22 world records were broken and all pieces were sold for a total of $832 million. On the first night alone, over $646 million was made in sales. A “Rose Period” piece of Picasso’s, Fillette a la corbeille fleurie, sold for $115 million, the highest ever paid for a painting from that period of his work. This piece was previously owned by Gertrude Stein and was obtained by Rockefeller after the death of her partner Alice B. Toklas. A piece from Monet’s water lilies collection, Nympheas en fleur, sold for $84.7 million, the highest ever paid for one of his works. And, a Henri Matisse painting, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, sold for $80 million, also a record-high for one of his pieces.

World’s Best Cities for Art Lovers

Appreciators of art delight in discovering the beauty of some of the world’s most famous pieces, as well as the lesser-known masterpieces. By combining a love of art with travel, you can take in the globe’s most interesting works of art while visiting some of its best cities. From classic art steeped in history to more contemporary and eclectic works, anyone can find a piece that they appreciate. Art can be found anywhere, but here are a few of the best cities to start your adventure:

PARIS, FRANCE: The high roller of them all, Paris is an art lover’s dream. From the venerable works found at The Louvre to the quieter Musée Rodin, the city oozes art from every corner. You don’t even have to step foot in an official museum, as the beautiful gardens, sculptures, churches, and other architecture is art in itself.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO: Some might be surprised to see this southwest American city on the list. However, visitors to Santa Fe have long marveled at its myriad of art galleries, from the more famous Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art to the smaller collection of independently run studios. The area is especially known for its focus on Native American and folk art.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: That city that never sleeps has enough art to keep you busy for days. The famous New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is the centerpiece of the city’s dazzling collection of art designed to appeal to every personal preference.

FLORENCE, ITALY: Rome and Venice’s lesser-known sister is a star in the country’s storied and classical art history. Some of the world’s most famous works of arts call this beautiful city home. The Galleria dell’Accademia houses Michaelangelo’s statue of David, wowing countless visitors each year. The Uffizi Gallery and the Bargello Museum are all-day destinations in their own right. The gelato in Florence isn’t bad either.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Home to more than 1,000 art galleries, London is a must-see city for any art connoisseur. In addition to the obvious stops at The National Gallery and the British Museum, travelers should also make time to visit the smaller Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, and more.

Build an Impressive Art Collection with Pennies

Being a connoisseur of fine art has nothing to do with how much money you have. Money doesn’t create good taste. If you have always been attracted to paintings, sculptures and other original pieces of art, seize this moment and start fulfilling your dream of starting your own art collection.

 

Avoid Looking at the Price Tag

 

An oil painting may sport a $1000 price tag, but pay little attention. Instead, study the piece for that one quality that has caught your eye. Look beyond the subject matter and focus on blend of colors, texture and depth. Something is triggering that euphoria in your brain. By identifying a specific feature, little-known and cheaper artists can bring the same reaction.

 

Visit Online Curators

 

There are many online artists that will feature their work on curator sites. Some use a rotating system of new artists while others have scanned and selected those artists that show promise in the art community.

 

Mingle at Art Galleries

 

There is often an interesting story behind a popular artist that drives up the price of a painting. This, and other tidbits of information, can help to expand your knowledge of how an artist thinks and works. Strike up a conversation with someone that shares the same aspects of a painting as you do. They can lead you to other shows, auctions and unknown artists. Also have favorite galleries place you on their mailing list for upcoming shows and possible discounts.

 

Be Obsessed to a Point

 

Having a passion for fine art can bring you many hours of satisfaction. However, set your boundaries and do not exceed. There is no fast money in turning art and should never be looked at in this light. Art is in the eye of the beholder and if you are not going to treasure its display in your home, you have missed the point. On the other hand, do not become so obsessed with a particular artist that your budget is continually in the red. Fine art can become an addiction so be careful with your new love.

 

Take it slow and easy when building your art collection. There are little rules and regulations in the fine art industry. Be leery of individuals that try and pressure you into a sale. There are sharks everywhere.

 

Beginners Guide to Art Auctions

The battlefield in the art world has always taken place at the art auctions where wealthy collectors and art speculators have all converged in the salesroom to compete with each other. It provides a strange delight for the onlookers who have attended the event to specifically have a look at all the action. When an art auction performs poorly, it undermines the confidence of the entire industry. For those getting started, it can be tremendous fun to watch, and sometimes the record-high prices elicit a gasp and roaring applause. If a person has no familiarity with the baroque logic of the art auctions, it might sound like an impenetrable mystery.

 

The Auctioneer

The showman of the art world, the auction employs humor and drama to raise the prices even from the most reluctant of bidders. Each auctioneer has his signature style, and the younger generation of art gavelers has leaned more towards the edgy and in-your-face style.

 

The Hammer

Known as the Excalibur of the auctioneer, he wields this combination of baton and judge’s gavel with astounding alacrity. When it comes down, sometimes it taps the table lightly. Other times, a crashes with an unmistakable thunk to show a sale has been completed.

 

Paddle

A snooty cousin of the ping pong paddle, this numbered instrument gets used as a telegraph to bid. Many of the high-flying buyers have chosen one of the more discreet approached to help in signaling the auctioneer, but sometimes the process can be as simple as nodding.

 

Appraisal

An appraisal gives the art collector the approximate market value of the items at the auction house. This is the process of developing an informed opinion on the value of an art collection. This will get assigned to a lot from the specialists of the auction house.

 

Estimate

The estimate is what a particular work will fetch in the sale. Art collectors will see both the high end of the estimate and the lower estimate. For example, they might have something that says anywhere from $14,000,000 to $18,000,000.

 

These are some of the terms for a beginner to understand about art auctions. Sometimes a dealer will bid on behalf of an artist he or she represents, and he ensures that the price of the work never drops below a specific price range.

Celebrities With Impressive Art Collections

Celebrities have the financial means to spend their money on a number of expensive hobbies- a popular choice as of late is collecting art by world-renowned artists. Listed here are celebrities with the most impressive art collections.

1. George Lucas
George Lucas is a filmmaker who loves to collect pieces of American Illustration. Amongst his collection are pieces by Norman Rockwell. In fact, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg lent a portion of their collections to the Smithsonian for an exhibit.

2. Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer is a famous actor who happens to be a collector of Contemporary Sculpture featuring artists such as Roxy Paine. Rumor has it that he is working toward building a sculpture park on the large property he owns in New Mexico.

3. Jane Holzer
Jane Holzer is an avid art collector, movie producer, and Warhol Superstar of the past. She collects Contemporary art from a variety of artists including Andy Warhol, Fischli and Weiss, Andreas Hofer, Jean Michele Basquiat, Jonathan Seliger, Christopher Wool, and many, many more. She has real estate in Palm Springs and from there is mostly a full-time art collector.

4. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt is an actor and art collector of contemporary art and modern and contemporary design. His collection includes work by artists such as Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, Neo Rauch, and Marcel Dzama.

5. Maddona
In 2009, Maddona’s art collection was valued at a whopping $160 million! The singer/actress collects artwork in the realm of contemporary and modern (with an emphasis on powerful female artists). Among them the famous Frida Kahlo, Tamara de Lempicka, Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Man Ray. She enjoys art depicting often controversial and thought-provoking scenes.

6. Neil Patrick Harris
Actor Neil Patrick Harris is a collector of contemporary and Americana artworks by artists such as Andrew Sendor, Tony Payne, and Darina Karpov. Several times, Neil Patrick Harris has opened his home to show his collection as an effort to raise money for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles- and has proven to be successful in doing so.

7. Steve Martin
Steve Martin is an actor/comedian who has become more outspoken over the years becoming an advocate of the arts. He collects pieces of modern masters including Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe.