Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 11.46.33 Pablo Picasso's Fillette à la corbeille fleurie in the Rockefeller's apartment
Image: Christie's

The first auction of the Rockefeller estate will be held in spring 2018 inside the Rockefeller, with all profits benefitting the charities that David and his wife Peggy supported during their lifetimes.

A piece with excellent provenance and an undisputed star of the sale will be Picasso's Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, 1905. The work, which is from Picasso's Rose Period, was first purchased by Gertrude and her brother Leo Stein for $30 from art dealer Clovis Sagot.

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 11.46.47 Pablo Picasso, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, 1905. Oil on canvas. 60⅞ x 26 in (154.8 x 66.1 cm)
Image: Christie's

Since then, it has remained in private. This enigmatic piece is a pinnacle work which shows the then 23 year old Picasso as the great painter he would go on to remembered as. In Ernest Hemingway's memoir A Moveable Feast, the writer recalls how he saw the painting in Stein's Parisian apartment: ''I took another sip of the eau-de-vie and pitied the old man and looked at Picasso’s nude of the girl with the basket of flowers.''

When Gertrude passed in 1946, the painting and her collection were left to her partner Alice B. Toklas. When Alice passed in 1967, Gertrude's collection was offered to the MoMA's board members, which included the Rockefellers and collectors William S. Paley and John Hay Whitney. They all drew from a hat to decide who would get to pick first from Stein's collection. David Rockefeller drew first and chose Picasso's Fillette à la corbeille fleurie. From then, it remained in the library of the Rockefeller's Upper East Side mansion, at 146 East 65th Street.

Christie's have estimated Picasso's Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, 1905 at $70 million.