Peggy & David Rockefeller

PEGGY & DAVID ROCKEFELLER (1915- 1996 ; 1915 - 2017)


The grandiose collection of American businessman David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy McGrath has been built up over the years and reflects the family's deep passion for art in all its diversity. The couple, with very good taste, have assembled a reference collection. Indeed, it brings together impressionist and modern works of art as well as European furniture, American paintings or Chinese ceramics among many other objects.

MyStudiolo traces the life of this New York billionaire couple, passionate collectors and great philanthropists in:

6 key dates 4 artworks 3 anecdotes 1 quote

1940 David and Peggy get married. Faithful to the family tradition, they knew how to enrich with intelligence the extraordinary collection of artworks started by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David's mother. In the 1920s, Abby against her husband's advice, she decided to take an interest in modern art and support emerging artists. She was also the co-founder of MoMA.

1948 Under the leadership of Alfred Barr, then director of MoMA, the couple began to collect mainly French impressionist and modern art. This omnipresence of French painting reflects the special link of the Rockefeller family with France. In particular, after the war, they made a very significant contribution to the financing of major restoration work on the châteaux of Versailles, Fontainebleau and even the cathedral of Reims.

1968 They acquired Girl with a Flowered Basket, painted in 1905 by Pablo Picasso. The work was part of the estate of Alice Toklas, companion of the mythical collector of Picasso, Gertrude Stein. A flagship piece of the collection, this work from the pink period never left the collection of the Rockefeller family and was enthroned in the library.

2005 The couple donate $ 100 million to MoMA as well as numerous paintings by masters, including Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne. Subsequently, they gave the institution $ 200 million. It is one of the largest sums ever bequeathed to a museum. Helping to make the world a better place, the couple often made donations for causes that were dear to them.

2007 David sold a 1950 Mark Rothko canvas for $ 72.8 million at Sotheby's, an all-time high at the time. He had bought it in 1960 for about $ 10,000. Proof that he had a keen eye for beautiful things. He was obviously well advised but it was always he who made the final decision with Peggy.

2018 As a nod to history, the 1,600 works of art in the couple's collection are sold at Rockefeller Center, with Christie's auction house located there. The sale, including works by Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Hopper and Willem de Kooning, among others, brought in $ 832.5 million, smashing the record held so far by the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection, which had brought in 484 million dollars in 2009. In accordance with the philanthropic will of the couple, all profits were donated to charities and cultural institutions.