After David Rockefeller’s passing last March at age 101, Vanity Fair proclaimed, “Privately, with his wife, Peggy, to whom he was married from 1940 until her death, in 1996, he lived at a level of refinement that will probably never be seen again on this earth..” As the last surviving grandchild of America’s first billionaire and one of the original robber barons, John D. Rockefeller Sr. (1839–1937), the Rockefellers helped lead the way in preserving the nation’s natural and cultural heritage. From May 7-11, 2018, the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller will be offered for sale at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries in New York. It will be the most significant philanthropic auction ever presented, with all the Estate sale proceeds destined to benefit selected charities.
The collection sale also promises to be the largest art auction of all time. Highlights include masterpieces of Impressionist and Modern Art, including a Rose Period Picasso selected by Peggy and David Rockefeller from Gertrude Stein’s collection, Claude Monet’s Nymphéas en fleur, painted circa 1914-1917, and a 1923 nude by Matisse that is poised to reset the artist’s record high price at auction.
Consummate connoisseurs, the Rockefeller’s stately homes provided an elegant and dignified atmosphere to showcase the masterpieces they collected. Today we will tour four with images courtesy of Christie’s and real estate listings:
- The Manhattan home on the Upper East Side
- “Hudson Pines,” the country home set on 75 acres in Westchester County
- “Ringing Point,” the summer home in Seal Harbor, Maine
- “Four Winds,” the Norman-style farmstead in Columbia County, New York
EAST 65TH STREET – MANHATTAN
The house on East 65th Street in Manhattan was Peggy and David Rockefeller’s primary residence for 69 years. Christie’s notes, “Originally two separate brownstones, it had been skillfully converted into one structure in the early 1900s. It had high ceilings, a spiral staircase linking all four floors, and a large living room that stretched the full width of the back part of the second floor. The Rockefellers furnished this home with 18th-century English furniture, Persian rugs, and prize examples of their burgeoning art collection — Picassos, Cézannes, a Manet, among others. Each day, they had coffee in a first-floor room surrounded by Fauvist paintings as the sun slowly warmed and lit their back garden.” Additional information can be found via Town & Country.
HUDSON PINES – WESTCHESTER COUNTY
From the real estate listing… “Designed and built by Mott Schmidt for Abby Rockefeller Milton (Mr. Rockefeller’s sister) in 1938, and purchased by David Rockefeller and his wife in 1946, Hudson Pines is considered one of the finest examples of Schmidt’s country residences. Set in picturesque Pocantico Hills in Westchester, NY, it clearly embodies the many passions that defined Rockefeller and easily reflects his understated style, warmth and quality.
Sited on over 75 acres with far-reaching Hudson River views, the main residence offers 11,343 square feet on three levels… Magnificent specimen gardens, broad lawns and arboretum-worthy woodlands, reminiscent of the creations of England’s Capability Brown, are complemented with a round heated pool, a playhouse for gatherings of any age, a large carriage house, a 3-bedroom gate house, 6-stall barn with tack room and office, three greenhouses with potting benches and an office, a mature apple orchard, and a private helipad.” Additional information can be found via Town & Country.
RINGING POINT – SEAL HARBOR, MAINE
Ringing Point is a 14.5-acre estate located in the town of Seal Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island. From Christie’s, “Ringing Point in Seal Harbor, Maine — the favourite summer place for the Rockefeller family since the early 1900s — was also designed by Nelson Aldrich [he had previously designed their St. Barts home], in tandem with Peggy, in 1972. A multi-level cottage, it fitted beautifully into the landscape and featured a large, high-ceilinged living room that provided views of the Atlantic Ocean and the small islands surrounding Mt. Desert Island.” And from the real estate listing, “To enter Ringing Point is to be welcomed into a naturally elegant, tranquil setting, where all the elements of Acadia National Park envelop you and inspire you. Truly like no other, unmatched for natural beauty and breadth…” Additional information can be found via Town & Country.
FOUR WINDS – COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
From Christie’s, “Finally, as Peggy Rockefeller’s interest in farming and cattle-raising grew in the 1970s and 1980s, the Rockefellers worked with Edward Larrabee Barnes to create a Norman-style farmstead in Columbia County, New York. The most intriguing feature of ‘Four Winds’ was a tall silo containing bedrooms and a small, elegant library.”
Christie’s first unveiled highlights from the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller in Hong Kong on November 24-27, which marked the start of a global tour of collection highlights presented by private aviation company VistaJet. The London (February 21-March 8) exhibition is followed by global tours to Christie’s flagship locations in Paris, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Beijing and New York, revealing new facets of this multi-category collection with each stop.
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 both David and Peggy Rockefeller. All the Estate proceeds will be donated to Peggy and David Rockefeller’s charities of choice, directly benefiting the philanthropic missions that have been maintained by the family for decades.