Works of art, furniture and decorative objects from the collection of the late David Rockefeller, the billionaire banker and philanthropist who was the last surviving grandchild of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, will be sold at auction next year, Christie's said on Wednesday.
Rockefeller died in March aged 101. Some 2,000 items will hit the auction block in a series of sales slated for spring of 2018, and proceeds will benefit a dozen charities in accordance with his pledge to direct the majority of his wealth to cultural, educational, medical and environmental causes.
"We are proud to fulfill my father's wish to share with the world the art and objects 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," David Rockefeller Jr. said in a statement.
Rockefeller, former head of Chase Manhattan Corp, was patriarch of one of the most famous and influential American families. He was a noted collector along with his wife, Peggy, who pre-deceased him.
In 2007, a Mark Rothko painting he bought in 1960 for less than $10,000 was auctioned for more than $72 million. Many other works in their world-class collection were handed down over generations.
The collection comprises impressionist, post-impressionist and modern works of art, as well as American paintings, English and European furniture, Asian art, European ceramics and Chinese porcelain, silver, and American decorative arts and furniture.
Beneficiaries of the proceeds include Harvard University, the Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Farmland Trust, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve.
For years Rockefeller served as chairman for Rockefeller University, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and The Museum of Modern Art.
Highlights from the sales will go on public exhibition in Europe, Asia and the United States in advance of the sales, which will be held at Christie's headquarters in Rockefeller Center.