The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller to be sold to benefit charities

With the Estate’s sale proceeds going to selected charities, the Rockefellers continue their long legacy of philanthropy with the Spring 2018 cross-category auctions at Christie’s


Peggy and David Rockefeller, May 1973. Photo: Arthur Lavine/Rockefeller Estate

Christie’s has been selected as the global auction house for The Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller. This vast collection will be offered for sale in May 2018 at our flagship auction rooms in Rockefeller Center in the heart of New York City. The sales will be conducted in keeping with David Rockefeller’s pledge to direct the majority of his wealth to philanthropy and provide for the cultural, educational, medical, and environmental causes long supported by the couple.

David Rockefeller, Jr. commented: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with Christie’s to create a significant fundraising opportunity for the philanthropies that are so important to the Rockefeller family. We are proud to fulfil my father’s wish to share with the world the art and objects that he and my mother collected over a lifetime together, and use them as means to continue the long legacy of Rockefeller family philanthropy first established by John D. Rockefeller.’

Gathered over a lifetime and handed down from previous generations, the collection reflects the Rockefeller family’s deep, life-long passion for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art, American paintings, English and European furniture, Asian works of art, European ceramics and Chinese export porcelain, silver, and American decorative arts and furniture. 

‘Eventually all these objects which have brought so much pleasure to Peggy and me will go out into the world and will again be available to other caretakers who, hopefully, will derive the same satisfaction and joy from them as we have’ — David Rockefeller

Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s CEO, remarked: ‘We are honoured to have been entrusted with this legendary collection. The Rockefeller family name is indelibly linked with the arts, culture, business and philanthropy around the world — and it is a fitting tribute that the auctions will be held at Christie’s New York in the heart of Rockefeller Center. David and Peggy Rockefeller were well-known not only for their monumental art collection, but also for their commitment to philanthropy which has benefited so many people around the world.’

Be the first to know Sign up to receive information about the Rockefeller auctions, catalogues, publications, events & more Sign up now

About Peggy and David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller (1915-2017) is remembered as one of the United States’ most deeply engaged and influential civic leaders. In the 1950s and 1960s he spearheaded the rebuilding and revitalisation of Wall Street and that area’s emergence as the world’s financial capital, and later founded the Partnership for New York City to foster cooperation between the private sector and government. David Rockefeller led Chase Manhattan Bank for more than a decade, successfully expanding the bank’s international operations to more than 100 countries. 

As a philanthropist, he provided visionary leadership and financial support to various organisations, serving as chairman for many years of Rockefeller University, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and The Museum of Modern Art. 

David was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the great industrialist who consolidated the American petroleum industry and founded the Standard Oil Company in the 19th century, subsequently building a fortune that made him one of America’s first billionaires and his family one of the richest and most influential in the nation’s history. Peggy McGrath Rockefeller (1915-1996) was a dedicated conservationist, a board member of the American Farmland Trust in Washington, and was a founder of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in Topsham, Maine. David and Peggy married in 1940 and for more than half a century were true partners in family, philanthropy and art.

The Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection   represents two individuals’ extraordinary dialogue with art and the world — a staggering collecting achievement extending across geography, history and medium. In its breadth and depth, it is unrivalled in modern times, encompassing thousands of works held at the Rockefellers’ residences in Manhattan, Pocantico Hills, the Hudson Valley, Maine, and beyond. It is a testament to Peggy and David’s knowledge, passion and connoisseurship that they lived surrounded by masterpieces of the art-historical canon.

David’s philanthropy was rooted in his belief in the power of individuals and communities to create a better world — the continuation of John D. Rockefeller, Senior’s ‘art of giving’. He was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Grand Cross of the French Legion of Honour, the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, and numerous other awards. 

In 2010 David signed the Giving Pledge, further confirming his plans to direct the majority of his personal wealth towards philanthropy. He noted at the time: ‘Our family continues to be united in the belief that those who have benefited the most from our nation’s economic system have a special responsibility to give back to our society in meaningful ways.’

For general enquiries about the Rockefeller auctions, contact

Related departments

Related lots

Related auctions

Related content