A global tour of highlights from The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller begins in Hong Kong, and is on view from 24-27 November. The tour will then move to London, Los Angeles and New York ahead of the auctions next year.
The top lot in the collection, Picasso’s Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, is among the Hong Kong highlights. Painted in 1905, it was bought in the same year by the writer and collector Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo. Upon Stein’s death in 1946 it passed to Alice B. Toklas, with whom it remained for 21 years. Bought by Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller in 1968, it enjoyed pride of place in the family’s New York townhouse.
Though primarily regarded as a painter, Picasso was an enthusiastic sculptor and ceramicist. Also on view in Hong Kong is his Deux possons en relief sur fond rouge (Two fish on a plate) from 1957, which shows his witty and playful use of clay as a medium.
Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, the most valuable painting by Matisse ever offered at auction, perfectly illustrates the artist’s use of textiles, fruit and flowers as part of an overall composition. The model is Henriette Darricarrère, a favourite of the artist.
Claude Monet’s Gare St. Lazare paintings record the rapid industrialisation of Paris and underline the importance of the railway as part of that process. In his 1877 oil on canvas, Extérieur de la gare Saint-Lazare, effet de soleil, workers look toward a train shunting into a tunnel.
Executed some 40 years later, Monet’s expansive Nymphéas en fleur dates from the twilight of the artist’s career, when he devoted himself single-mindedly to painting the water-lily pond at his home in Giverny. This work belongs to a group Monet painted in a burst of creativity between 1914 and 1917, as Europe plunged into war.
Among the many works in the The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller with significant provenance are two Sèvres porcelain sugar-bowls and an ice-pail, cover and liner from a Napoleonic dessert service.
Leading the Asian works of art in the collection is an Imperial gilt-bronze figure of Amitayus from the Kangxi period (1662-1722) made in the Imperial workshops. Another important Chinese work is a rare Anhua-decorated blue and white ‘Dragon’ bowl (Xuande six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period, 1426-1435).
Christie’s is honoured to partner with VistaJet, our sponsor of the Rockefeller exhibitions and events
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