Bidders accept bids from buyers during an auction from the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection on May 8 at Christie's in New York. (Julie Jacobson / AP)
With a flood of bids on Tuesday night, Christie's jumped into the record books. This week, New York City's auction house is holding a three-day sale of iconic artwork from the late Peggy and David Rockefeller collection. Thanks to the wealth accumulated by the family, the couple had built one of the most important art collections in the world.
According to Christie's, the first bidding night resulted in sales of $ 646 million. The slate with works by artists of the 19th and 20th centuries such as Juan Gris, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet was a record for the "most valuable collection sold at auctions," CNN reported. The most prized piece was a 1905 portrait by Pablo Picasso titled "Fillette a la corbeille fleurie". The painting was sold for $ 115 million – but has also sparked controversy over the sexualized portrayal of a young girl in the current "MeToo." The Atmosphere.
The Picasso canvas is from the artist's "Rose" period. At a time when Picasso was still relatively unknown and dirty and scratched out a modest bohemian in Parisian Montmartre, the painting features a nude prepubescent girl holding flowers against a blue background. "According to an essay in Christie 's catalog," The Flowers, as it would have been at the time, a real prostitute. "
Picasso biographer John Richardson says the theme of the painting is a girl named Linda," who sold her body and roses outside the Moulin Rouge. "It also portrayed artists, including Amedeo Modigliani and Picasso.
The painting was also the artist's entrance into one of the most important Relationships in Picasso's early career. Not long after the canvas was completed, it was bought by Leo and Gertrude Stein, the American brother and sister, who were to become leading supporters of the modernist movement. "[I] It was very cheap," recalls Gertrude Stein in her autobiography. "The picture was the now familiar painting of a naked girl with a basket of red flowers."
Picasso met the stones shortly after buying the painting, and he became an integral part of the family salon, a hotspot for modernist writers, artists and thinkers.
The Rockefellers acquired the canvas in 1968. The identity of the last buyer was not identified. But the sale has raised new questions about the exploitative nature of the relationship between artist and subject.
HuffPosts Priscilla Frank wrote this week that "Linda's paradoxical position holds many women muses, their images iconic, and their identities irrelevant." The question becomes even more important against the backdrop of Picasso's documented subsequent abusive relationships. The "me too" movement, which focuses on how historically men use power against women with impunity, only deepens the topic with the screen.
"For centuries, women like Linda posing and working with powerful male artists have seen but not heard, objectified rather than humanized," wrote Frank.
The first night of the Rockefeller sale saw other record sales. A Henri Matisse canvas – "Odalisque Couchée aux Magnolien" – sold for $ 80.7 million. According to CNN, the highest selling price of the artist before Tuesday was $ 46.4 in 2009. Claude Monet's "Nymphéas en fleur" was sold for $ 84.7 million, beating a 2016 Monet sale at 81.4 Million dollars.
David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, was chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corp.
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