‘They Are the Greatest Family of Non-Royal Collectors Ever’: See 7 Highlights From the Prestigious Rothschild Family Sale at Christie’s
A writing desk commissioned by Marie Antoinette and a painting by Fragonard are among the lots on offer.
“The name Rothschild means the best of the best,” said deputy chairman Charles Cator in a statement. “They are the greatest family of non-royal collectors who have ever existed.” Although the auction house is not revealing which Rothschilds are selling off their precious objects, in some ways it doesn’t matter—the name speaks for itself.
The family made its fortune through banking, beginning in the 16th century with Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who made the prescient decision to pass on his wealth through his five sons, each appointed to run part of the family business in cities across Europe. From there, the family’s various branches and their heirs continued to amass wealth and keep it within the bloodline. Even today, the Rothschild name is synonymous with wealth (the original Yiddish lyrics to the Fiddler on the Roof song “If I Were a Rich Man” were actually “If I were a Rothschild”).
Now, you too can live like a Rothschild—if you have a couple extra million lying around—by snatching up some of the gilded items from this selection of paintings, plaques, and furniture, including a desk commissioned by Marie Antoinette herself. Below, a few highlights from the auction.
Pair of Royal Cabinets for King Philip V of Spain
Estimate: $1.9 million–$3.2 million
David Teniers, The Ham Dinner (1648)
Estimate: $1 million–$1.5 million
Mahogony Writing Table Commissioned by Marie Antoinette
Estimate: $780,000–$1.3 million
“The Rothschild Apostles”
A Louis XVI Ormolu
Gilt-bronze and Rock Crystal Casket
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Dans les blés
Estimate: $900,000–$1.3 million
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Dans les blés. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.
Select highlights are on view in Hong Kong from May 24-27; the London preview begins June 29, and the sale opens July 4.
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