Christie’s Announces Details of Exhibitions, Sales, Tickets and Catalogues for the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller

May 1-11 Online Sale | May 8, 9 & 10 Saleroom Auctions

First look at complete collection of more than 1,000 items of decorative art and 550 works of fine art:

  • Two evening sales of European, American and Latin American masterpieces
  • Online sales of Fine and Decorative Arts across eight collecting themes
  • All estate proceeds to benefit philanthropy

Public highlights exhibitions continue around the globe

  • Los Angeles April 6 –12
  • Beijing April 6 – 7
  • Shanghai April 10 –11
  • New York April 28 – May 8

Christie’s announces final details of the most anticipated art world event of the spring season: the sale of the magnificent Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller. All of the estate proceeds will be directed to a dozen philanthropies Peggy and David Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes, for the benefit of continuing scientific research, higher education, support for the arts, sustainable economic development, and land conservation initiatives, among others.christies_logo_black-hr_mdtv71b

New confirmed details include the complete schedule of live and online sales, illustrated catalogs available online, remaining US and Asia highlights tours and locations, and ticket information to attend the special extended public exhibition of the Collection at Rockefeller Center in New York from April 28 – May 8. The global tour and exhibitions are presented in partnership with VistaJet. In total, the Collection is expected to realize in excess of $500 million. Before now, the most valuable collection ever previously offered at auction was the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé in 2009 at Christie’s Paris, which achieved more than US$400 million.

The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller comprises approximately 1,550 auction lots, including one of the largest and most important collections of decorative arts to come to market in decades. Christie’s will offer 900 lots via live saleroom auctions at its Rockefeller Center site on May 8, 9 and 10. A companion online sale – which opens for bidding worldwide on May 1– will feature an additional 650 lots organized across eight collecting themes, with estimates ranging from $100 to $10,000. Through this unique integration of sale channels, Christie’s brings traditional decorative arts to the forefront, leveraging a sophisticated digital marketing approach and ‘guest-stylist’ partnerships with top tastemakers, interior designers, and social media influencers.

Marc Porter, Christie’s Chairman, Americas stated: “This rich and diverse collection of fine and decorative art is unified by Peggy and David Rockefeller’s love of beauty and their unerring eye for exceptional quality and craftsmanship in design. The size and scope of this great collection has inspired us to innovate new approaches to our traditional sale model and leverage our world-class online sale platform as only Christie’s can. The result is a dynamic week of saleroom auctions, including not one but two Evening Sales of masterworks from European, American and Latin American artists and a stellar offering of Decorative Arts across a range of categories. Our online sale, which is organized along the themes and motifs that resonated most with Peggy and David Rockefeller, brings this Collection to life in a fresh and exciting way, and is designed to make it both easy and enjoyable for collectors from all around the world to participate in this singular philanthropic event.

Following the main auction week, Christie’s will offer a selection of 19 lots of jewelry from the family collection as a highlight of its Magnificent Jewels sale in New York on June 12. The jewelry will be exhibited as part of the extended exhibition in New York and the highlights tour to Los Angeles.

In keeping with Peggy and David Rockefeller’s wishes, Estate proceeds from the Collection sales at Christie’s will be directed to the following philanthropies, which the Rockefellers supported throughout their lifetimes: American Farmland Trust, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Council on Foreign Relations, the David Rockefeller Fund, Harvard University, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve, the Museum of Modern Art, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller University, and The Stone Barns Restoration Corporation – Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, among others.

LOS ANGELES TOUR

West Coast collectors and jewelry enthusiasts will get a first look at the Collection highlights between April 6 and 12 when Christie’s brings a selection of masterpieces and Rockefeller family jewels to its flagship West Coast gallery in Beverly Hills. The touring exhibition was curated with the tastes and interests of Christie’s clients in mind, with rare works by American artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, and Willem de Kooning exhibited alongside masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Paul Gauguin. In addition, Christie’s LA will unveil Diego Rivera’s rarely-exhibited large-scale masterwork, The Rivals, painted in 1931 aboard the ship carrying Rivera and Frida Kahlo to New York. A collection of jewelry owned by Peggy Rockefeller will be included in the Los Angeles previews, featuring signed pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., and Raymond Yard, among others.

Porter further added: “This rich and diverse collection of fine and decorative art is unified by Peggy and David Rockefeller’s love of beauty and their unerring eye for exceptional quality and craftsmanship in design. The size and scope of this great collection have inspired us to innovate new approaches to our traditional sale model and leverage our world-class online sale platform as only Christie’s can. The result is a dynamic week of saleroom auctions, including not one but two Evening Sales of masterworks from European, American and Latin American artists and a stellar offering of Decorative Arts across a range of categories. Our online sale, which is organized along the themes and motifs that resonated most with Peggy and David Rockefeller, brings this Collection to life in a fresh and exciting way, and is designed to make it both easy and enjoyable for collectors from all around the world to participate in this singular philanthropic event. Continue reading

Art News: “Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection” at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art gives us real delight only when the eye derives pleasure from what is really worthy.

John G. Johnson, from his art and travel memoir, Sight-Seeing in Berlin and Holland among Pictures, 1892.

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection, November 3, 2017 – February 19, 2018, a major exhibition focusing on one of the finest collections of European art ever to have been formed in the United States by a private collector. The exhibition marks the centenary of the remarkable bequest of John Graver Johnson—a distinguished corporate lawyer of his day and one of its most adventurous art collectors—to the city of Philadelphia in 1917. It also coincides with the celebration of the centennial of

Portrait of John G. Johnson, 1917. Conrad F. Haeseler, American, 1875 1962

Portrait of John G. Johnson, 1917. Conrad F. Haeseler, American, 1875 1962. Oil on panel, 34 x 24 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Miss Julia W. Frick and Sidney W. Frick, 1971.

the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The exhibition will include masterpieces by key figures of the Renaissance such as Botticelli, Bosch, and Titian; important seventeenth-century Dutch paintings by Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and others; and works by American and French masters of Johnson’s own time, most notably Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Édouard Manet and Claude Monet. Old Masters Now will also provide a behind-the-scenes look at the collaborative work of the Museum’s curators and conservators who have worked with the collection since it was entrusted to the Museum’s care in the early 1930s. The exhibition will explore a host of fascinating questions ranging from attribution to authenticity and illuminate the detective work and problem-solving skills that are brought to bear when specialists reevaluate the original meaning and intent of works created centuries ago.pma_title_horz

Born in the village of Chestnut Hill, now part of Philadelphia, and educated in the city’s public Central High School and then the University of Pennsylvania, John Graver Johnson (1841–1917) became recognized as the greatest lawyer in the English-speaking world. He represented influential clients such as J. P. Morgan, US Steel, the Sugar Trust, and Standard Oil. He was also known to accept cases that many would consider ordinary if the details piqued his intellectual interest. Johnson quietly acquired many important works of art, but also highly singular ones that have been the source of much scholarly discussion.

Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874. Claude Monet, French, 1840 1926.

Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874. Claude Monet, French, 1840 1926. Oil on canvas, 21 3/8 x 28 7/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

At the age of 34 he married Ida Alicia Powel Morrell (1840–1908), a widow with three children. He traveled to Europe often, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Belgium, and collected pictures as an amateur art historian relying on his own evaluation. In 1892, he published Sight-Seeing in Berlin and Holland among Pictures. Also that year, he published a catalog of his collection which at the time included 281 paintings.

Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, 1430 1432. Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish

Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, 1430 1432. Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish (active Bruges), c. 1395 1441. Oil on vellum on panel, 5 x 5 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

In 1895, Johnson was appointed to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Art Commission where he oversaw the Wilstach Gallery, which housed a public collection of paintings. Under his leadership, the Commission purchased important works, among them James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Black, and Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Annunciation, the first work by an African-American artist to enter a public collection in the United States. Johnson was also the attorney for Alexander Cassatt, brother of the artist Mary Stevenson Cassatt. One of his earliest purchases was Cassatt’s On the Balcony. When Johnson gave this work to the Wilstach Gallery in 1906, it was the first painting by the artist to enter an American public collection. During his 22-year stewardship of the Wilstach Gallery, he made 53 gifts from his personal collection, which are now on view at the Museum.

Marine, 1866. Gustave Courbet, French, 1819 1877. Oil on canvas on gypsum board. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Marine, 1866. Gustave Courbet, French, 1819 1877. Oil on canvas on gypsum board. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Musical Group, 1520s. Callisto Piazza (Calisto de la Piaza da Lodi),

Musical Group, 1520s. Callisto Piazza (Calisto de la Piaza da Lodi), Italian (active Lodi and Brescia), c. 1500 1561/62. Oil on panel, 35 5/8 x 35 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO said, “Over time our appreciation of Johnson’s extraordinary gift continues to grow, and yet it remains a source of endless fascination with many discoveries still to be made. We are delighted to open a window onto our work, offering visitors a fresh look at the process of scholarship and conservation that we bring to the care of our collection and an insight into the questions, puzzles, and mysteries that continue to occupy our staff.”

Johnson’s collection was formed through his own study and, in later years, with the assistance of illustrious art historians including Roger Fry and Wilhelm Valentiner. Bernard Berenson advised his purchases of works by Antonello da Messina, Sandro Botticelli, and Pietro Lorenzetti, and others. To this day, the John G. Johnson Collection is distinguished by its quality, rarity, and diversity in European art.

Portrait of a Lady, c. 1577 1580. Attributed to El Greco

Portrait of a Lady, c. 1577 1580. Attributed to El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Spanish (born Crete, active Italy and Spain), 1541 1614. Oil on panel, 15 5/8 x 12 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Portrait of a Young Gentleman, 1474. Antonello da Messina

Portrait of a Young Gentleman, 1474. Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni di Michele de Antonio), Italian (active Messina, Naples, and Venice) 1456 – 1479. Oil on panel, 12 5/8 x 10 11/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Portrait of Archbishop Filippo Archinto, 1558. Titian

Portrait of Archbishop Filippo Archinto, 1558. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Italian (active Venice), first securely documented 1508, died 1576. Oil on canvas, 45 3/16 x 34 15/16 inches. Framed: 58 3/4 × 48 1/4 × 5 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

At the time of his death on April 14 in 1917, Johnson left his collection to the city of Philadelphia. In his will, he said: “I have lived my life in this City. I want the collection to have its home here.” The City of Philadelphia accepted the conditions of his will, which contained a codicil directing that his house be opened as a gallery for the public to enjoy. In 1933 the Johnson Collection was moved temporarily from Johnson’s house at 510 South Broad Street to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, due to a funding crisis caused by the Great Depression as well as a determination by a court-appointed master that the Johnson house was unsafe for the collection. In 1958 the Museum, the City, and the Johnson Trust entered a formal agreement concerning storage and display of the Johnson Collection at the Museum. Johnson’s art was exhibited as a separate collection within the Museum for more than 50 years. In the late 1980s, legal approval was granted for the Museum to integrate the works into its full collection. The collection numbers 1,279 paintings, 51 sculptures, and over 100 other objects.

Christ and the Virgin, c. 1430 1435. Robert Campin, also called the Master of Flémalle, Netherlandish

Christ and the Virgin, c. 1430 1435. Robert Campin, also called the Master of Flémalle, Netherlandish (active Tournai), first documented 1406, died 1444. Oil and gold on panel, 11 1/4 x 17 15/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Head of Christ, c. 1648 1656. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch

Head of Christ, c. 1648 1656. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch (active Leiden and Amsterdam), 1606 1669. Oil on oak panel, laid into larger oak panel, 14 1/8 x 12 5/16 inches. Framed: 28 1/4 x 23 x 2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Interior of Saint Bavo, Haarlem, 1631. Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Dutch

Interior of Saint Bavo, Haarlem, 1631. Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Dutch (active Haarlem and Utrecht), 1597 1665. Oil on panel, 32 5/8 x 43 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

The exhibition will open with a gallery dedicated to Johnson himself, providing a picture of one of Philadelphia’s most prominent leaders during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A timeline will trace key moments in his colorful legal career, highlighting important cases and invitations he was reported to have received from President Garfield and President Cleveland to be nominated for a seat on the United States Supreme Court, and another from President McKinley to serve as his United States Attorney General, all of which Johnson declined. It notes that in 1901, he represented his hometown baseball team, the Phillies (then known as the Philadelphia Ball Club), when players sought to break their contract to play for another team. This section will also explore his decades-long formation of an art collection, from his early acquisitions of contemporary art, such as Mary Cassatt’s On the Balcony, to paintings that he acquired the day before he died. Archival material, travel albums, and large-scale photographs of the interiors of Johnson’s houses at 426 and 506 South Broad Street will reveal the strikingly idiosyncratic way in which he displayed and lived with his collection. Continue reading