Monthly Archives

November 2017

In Art, Decor on
November 25, 2017

Auction Preview: The Peggy & David Rockefeller Collection

The name Rockefeller is often taken as synonymous with collector and in the spring of 2018, Christie’s will offer the exquisitely expansive treasury of Peggy and David Rockefeller at auction. They have just unveiled a few highlights from the collection which started its global tour in Hong Kong over the weekend and I had to share the finery! From almost priceless works of art to incredible dinner services, the sale of these esteemed items will contribute to the most significant philanthropic auction ever held. Ready for a glimpse of the goods?

Decadent Dessert Service

Rockefeller Collection Highlights

Red and Sky Blue never looked so rich!

Made especially for Emperor Napoleon I of France by Sèvres porcelain, this ‘Marly Rouge’ dessert service boasts a fascinating provenance and delicious details. Papillons et fleurs decorate two sugar bowls, an ice-pail and the rest of the service created between 1807-09. It lived briefly at the palace of Fontainebleau and was brought with Napoleon to exile on the island of Elba. This rare delivery has not been seen on the art market for 75 years since Abby Aldrich Rockefeller acquired the pieces and it is estimated to bring in $150,000-250,000.

Make it a Monet

Highlights from the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection

Claude Monet, Nymphéas en Fleur, oil on canvas, 63″ x 71″. Estimated at $35,000,000.

Acquired by Peggy and David in 1956 from a Parisian dealer with the guidance of MoMa’s first director, Alfred Barr, this striking rendition of the garden at Giverny is one of the largest canvases Claude Monet ever worked on. During World War I, Monet had a period of inspired creativity in which he created gloriously vibrant pieces celebrating the splendor of his beloved home. Most likely painted in late afternoon, the dark purple waters and glowing white lillies drew the Rockefellers in immediately. David Rockefeller had the distinct experience of watching his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, co-found the Museum of Modern Art and subsequently developed his keen eye for fine art.

Rose Period Pick

A Rose Period Pablo Picasso piece from the Rockefeller Collection offered by Christie's

Fillette à la Corbeille Fleurie, 1905. Image courtesy of 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

This gorgeous ode to the bohemian lifestyle of the early 20th century by Pablo Picasso hung in the Rockefeller’s New York townhouse library for decades. It came to be theirs when David assembled a group of prominent art collectors to purchase pieces from the renown Gertrude Stein collection. Numbers written on slips of paper were tossed into a hat, Rockefeller serendipitously picked “1” and was able to secure he and Peggy’s first choice, Young Girl with a Flower Basket. The two had a rule when buying art that they both had to like the piece before purchasing it and that little caveat served them well as collectors!

The Golden God

Buddhist God A Highlight from the Christie's Rockefeller Collection Auction

At just 16.5″ tall, this gilt-bronze homage to the god Amitayus is an exquisite example of Imperial artisanship.

The Rockefeller family’s strong ties to Asia, both cultural and charitable, are to thank for the bevy of significant artifacts from the region in their collection. Take, for example, this astounding mostly gold and brass statue of Amitayus, the god of long life in Chinese Buddhism. It was commissioned by the Kangxi Emperor during his reign from 1662 to 1722 and crafted in an imperial workshop. It is estimated to be in the $400,000-600,000 range and would look quite nice on a mantle, don’t you think?

Posh Porcelain

China Trade Rockefeller Pattern Porcelain from Christie's

The collection, comprising a special pair of fruit coolers, is estimated to be between $100,000-150,000.

Dinner party guests of Peggy and David’s would have been treated to courses served on Chinese export porcelain emblazoned with the “Rockefeller pattern.” It is the most elaborate pattern of all the great China Trade produced dinner services with sepia and gilt borders ensconcing intricate Chinese scenes, each one unique. Once belonging to David’s parents Abby and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. he and his brother Nelson enjoyed adding pieces to the large collection over the years. It’s so nice to hear of fine china actually being used, if those plates could talk I’m sure they’d have vivid tales of fabulous parties past!

Matisse Masterpiece

Henri Matisse piece offered by Christie's as part of the Rockefeller Collection

Oil on canvas. 23″ x 31″, estimated at $50 million. Image courtesy of 2017 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Drumroll please… This is the most significant Matisse work to be up for auction in a generation, as well as the highest estimated work of Henri’s to ever grace the bidding block. Painted in 1923, this piece was a special opportunity for Matisse to introduce his best work for comparison against that of past masters. The reclining female is said to have been one of the greatest paintings by the artist to be owned privately. Rich brushwork and brilliant hues made Odalisque Couchée aux Magnolias a standout in the Rockefeller’s Hudson Pines Home.

Son David, Jr. says the upcoming auction is ‘an extraordinary opportunity for the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection to be sold and the revenue used to support the important institutions that they supported in their lifetimes.’

Son David, Jr. says the upcoming auction is ‘an extraordinary opportunity for the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection to be sold and the revenue used to support the important institutions that they supported in their lifetimes.’ Image courtesy of Christie’s New York/Arthur Lavine/Rockefeller Estate.

Although these auction highlights don’t exactly inspire dreams of finding a Rockefeller steal or deal, fear not! Christie’s will be offering treasures from porcelains to jewels with bid estimates starting at just $200. You can begin placing bids on the historied Peggy and David Rockefeller collection next spring with live auctions taking place at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries or online. Get your paddles ready, dears, it’s all for a good cause!

In Musings on
November 16, 2017

Friday Fancies

Happy weekend dears! Autumn leaves are falling, there is finally a slight chill in the air and Thanksgiving is fast approaching; what a time to be alive! Here are some fancies to usher you into the festive week ahead.



Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

On the Orient Express, that is. My husband and I went to see this star-packed delight last Friday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the cinematography, period costumes and nostalgia of a great Agatha Christie tale, Murder on the Orient Express is the perfect movie to take in with the whole family next week. No covering Grandmother’s eyes or ears, this flick is clean as a whistle!



Image by Heidi Face.

If you live in or around Atlanta, this year’s Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse looks sublime. It is open through December 10th for touring and they have plenty of fabulous events to attend as well. I’m partial to the ethereal swan and blush adorned powder room by Clary Bosbyshell of Margaux Interiors Ltd. and can’t wait to see the rest of the home!


While everyone enjoys a lovely pie, I veered from tradition last Thanksgiving and made a pumpkin bread pudding and accompanying Grand Marnier caramel sauce. I don’t have photographic evidence of it so you’ll have to take my word, it was absolutely delicious and a big hit. Ready to wow with your culinary prowess on Turkey Day? Here’s how to make it:

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

via Taste Love Nourish

1 pound challah or brioche bread

2 large eggs

2 1/4 cups milk

15 ounces pumpkin puree

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter, diced into small cubes

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350, grease a 9 inch baking dish.
  • Cube the bread into 1 inch pieces, place them in the baking dish.
  • Whisk eggs in a bowl, add milk, pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Mix all the ingredients to combine then pour mixture over bread.
  • Dot the top of the bread with butter and walnuts.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until set. Allow to cool, serve warm! (Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, win win.)

Grand Marnier Caramel Sauce

via Averie Cooks

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup

1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or a little more!)

1 teaspoon salt if you prefer salted caramel

  • Making this is always a bit intimidating for me! In a large saucepan add sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow mixture to boil for 5-12 minutes or until it turns caramel colored. Stir it occasionally, making sure the sugar mix doesn’t get on the sides of the saucepan too much to prevent crystallization.  It will most likely be smoking a little, keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn! Once the perfect caramel color has been achieved, reduce the heat to low.
  • Ever so slowly, add in the cream which will bubble vigorously so watch out!
  • Add the Grand Marnier and salt very slowly as it will bubble again then whisk until sauce is smooth. Boil it for an additional minute so it becomes thicker.
  • Store in a glass heat-safe container uncovered until it reaches room temperature. Put a lid on it and it will keep for at least two weeks!



Image courtesy of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Need a headline to get the Thanksgiving table conversation off of football and on to how culturally informed you are? Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 “Olive Trees” is a cautionary tale of how plein air painting conditions can go awry. It has just been discovered that there is actually a very old grasshopper stuck amongst the thick layers of paint in this work along with some flies. van Gogh was a master at his easel and an unsuspecting entomologist too! For the full story, go here.


Our daughter is due to arrive any day now and I’ve finally finished her nursery in the nick of time. Above is a little sneak peek of the room, I promise to share more soon! I’m also looking forward to having some down time, or as much of that as you can have with a newborn, to work on some interesting art history and decorating posts (my favorite kind!) so stay tuned.

Wishing you all a fabulous Thanksgiving!