Henry Moore (1898-1986), Large Four Piece Reclining Figure, conceived and cast in 1972-73. Bronze with brown patina, Length 157½ in (400 cm). Estimate $6-8 million. This lot is offered in

The Ronald P. Stanton Collection: One of New York’s great philanthropists

Masterpieces by Picasso, Rodin, Noguchi, Renoir, Matisse and more from the collection of a man who dedicated his life to his faith and his community — offered during the 20th Century Week sales in New York

Ronald P. Stanton was born in 1928 in Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt in Germany. His humble origins and the tumultuous political period in which he grew up bred a rare determination that would help him rise to become one of New York’s most prominent businessmen and philanthropists.

An epitome of the American success story, Stanton described his journey as one ‘that brought us some hardship, tremendous good fortune, a wonderful family, many good friends and ultimately a successful, rich life.’

Georges Rouault (1871-1958), Pierrot (à la lune), 1939. Oil on paper laid down on canvas, 25½ x 19⅝ in (64.8 x 49.9 cm). Estimate $250,000-350,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale on 16 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Georges Rouault (1871-1958), Pierrot (à la lune), 1939. Oil on paper laid down on canvas, 25½ x 19⅝ in (64.8 x 49.9 cm). Estimate: $250,000-350,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale on 16 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

In reaction to the worsening situation in Germany in the early 1930s, Ronald’s mother Hedwig ‘Hedi’ Kern had the foresight to smuggle money to Switzerland. By April 1937, nine-year-old Ronald and his mother were able to flee Europe for New York City, shipping abroad only a few items, including a centuries-old Shabbat candelabra and a portrait of an ancestor.

The fledgling entrepreneur graduated from the City College of New York to become a trainee at Interore, the International Ore & Fertilizer Corporation. In 1950 he was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War, and, following service, he returned to Interore where he went on to become an executive vice-president. In 1965, setting out on his own, he founded the hugely successful Transammonia (now called Trammo) — a merchandising and trading company that eventually became the largest privately-owned firm in New York.

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Corbeille de fruits dans la salle à manger du cannet, 1928. Oil on canvas, 20¼ x 23⅝ in (51.3 x 60.1 cm). Estimate $1,200,000-1,800,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 15 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Corbeille de fruits dans la salle à manger du cannet, 1928. Oil on canvas, 20¼ x 23⅝ in (51.3 x 60.1 cm). Estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 15 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Stanton’s upbringing and his mother’s emphasis on the importance of family and philanthropy — particularly the tradition of tzedakah, or righteous giving — left an indelible mark. ‘Even when we had no money and very little to share, to give in this unasked way was the motivation of my mother’s life,’ he recalled.

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988). Garden Elements, 1958. Two elements of Mannari granite. Larger element 102 x 27 x 12½ in (259 x 68.5 x 31.7 cm); smaller element 36 x 66½ x 8 in (91.4 x 168.9 x 20.3 cm). Estimate $1,000,000–1,500,000. This work is offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 17 May at Christie’s in New York

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988). Garden Elements, 1958. Two elements of Mannari granite. Larger element: 102 x 27 x 12½ in (259 x 68.5 x 31.7 cm); smaller element: 36 x 66½ x 8 in (91.4 x 168.9 x 20.3 cm). Estimate: $1,000,000–1,500,000. This work is offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 17 May at Christie’s in New York

Ronald Stanton embraced philanthropy and service, giving generously to the arts, education, health care and Congregation Shearith Israel, America’s oldest Jewish congregation, where he and his mother had found safe haven upon arriving in America.

He immersed himself in the life of New York City, finding beauty and gaining knowledge through regular visits to the opera, the ballet and museums, particularly the Museum of Modern Art. 

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Danseuse assise de profil, circa 1896. Charcoal and pastel on joined paper laid down on board, Image size 18⅛ x 16⅝ in (46.1 x 42.2 cm), Sheet size 20¾ x 20¼ in (52.7 x 51.5 cm). Estimate $800,000-1,200,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 15 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Danseuse assise de profil, circa 1896. Charcoal and pastel on joined paper laid down on board, Image size: 18⅛ x 16⅝ in (46.1 x 42.2 cm), Sheet size: 20¾ x 20¼ in (52.7 x 51.5 cm). Estimate: $800,000-1,200,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 15 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Stanton filled his homes on Fifth Avenue and in North Salem with an impeccable collection of Impressionist and modern art, Post-War and contemporary sculpture, Asian art, period European furniture and 19th-century painting, acquiring works by Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Isamu Noguchi, Pierre Bonnard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henry Moore and Henri Matisse.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Femme nue assise, 1947. Charcoal and estompe on paper, 18⅞ x 12⅜ in (47.9 x 31.4 cm). Estimate $300,000-500,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper on 16 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Femme nue assise, 1947. Charcoal and estompe on paper, 18⅞ x 12⅜ in (47.9 x 31.4 cm). Estimate: $300,000-500,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper on 16 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Meanwhile, he provided significant financial support and leadership to a variety of organisations within New York City, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Abraham Joshua Heschel School.

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), Eve, petit modèle (modèle à la base carrée et aux pieds plats), conceived in 1881 and cast in 1886. Bronze with dark green and brown patina. Height 28¾ in (73 cm). Estimate $2,500,000-3,500,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 15 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), Eve, petit modèle (modèle à la base carrée et aux pieds plats), conceived in 1881 and cast in 1886. Bronze with dark green and brown patina. Height: 28¾ in (73 cm). Estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000. This lot is offered in Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 15 May 2017, at Christie’s in New York

Ronald Stanton affected countless lives through his donations, as reflected in his being honoured as a Chevalier of France’s Legion of Honour, receiving the Museum of Modern Art’s David Rockefeller Award, and being awarded an honorary degree from Yeshiva University. These honours were a consequence of his striving, in his words, to ‘make a contribution to worthwhile things so that your own existence has meaning.’ By that standard, Ronald Stanton’s was a life that was rich with meaning.