David Rockefeller at the Museum of Modern Art’s 41st Annual Party in the Garden in 2009. Courtesy of David X. Prutting, © Patrick McMullan

The art world is reacting to the death of billionaire David Rockefeller at age 101 this week with one simple question: What is to happen to his art collection of more than 15,000 objects?

Less than 48 hours after David Rockefeller’s death at 101 years old, museums, collectors, investors, lawyers, galleries, and many more are setting into motion what could be the art sale of the century. A major patron of the arts and modernism, Rockefeller spent a large portion of his life — and money — amassing a personal collection of more than 15,000 objects whose worth is estimated in the billions (yes, we used the b-word).

According to Art Market Monitor, the sale of Rockefeller’s estate could happen as early as the fall of 2017, but will most likely take place in 2018, with Christie’s owning the rights to the auction. Art Market Monitor also suggests that the sale of Rockefeller’s collection could have a major effect on the global art market for decades to come: “Though Yves Saint-Laurent-Pierre Bergé sale in 2009 came at a very different time when the global economy was at its most vulnerable, the sale contributed greatly to the idea of art as an asset. In a more stable financial environment, a huge A+ sale of this size and quality could have transformative effects on the market.”

To learn more, visit Art Market Monitor.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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