I t is an honor and a privilege to share the collection of Ambassador and Mrs. Felix Rohatyn. Amassed over decades, the collection beautifully embodies the synthesis between European taste and their American vision. The core of the Rohatyn Collection centers on a celebration of French culture – befitting the significance that France held in Ambassador Rohatyn’s life, from his childhood and his career at Lazard, to his eventual return as U.S. ambassador. The collection comprises a striking variety of works across a range of genres. Among the works presented in this auction are French Old Master Paintings and a carefully selected array of drawings including pieces by Boucher and Watteau. These works are complemented by the lyrical Venetian views by Canaletto and Bellotto, each a masterpiece of stunning quality and importance. The works within the broader collection, which incorporates Impressionist paintings and 20th Century sculpture, converse with one another across different time periods and styles with the sophistication, refinement and elegance that Ambassador and Mrs. Felix Rohatyn embodied themselves.
From Finance to Fine Art: The Awe-Inspiring Life of Felix Rohatyn
Visit the Exhibition
Following the guidelines for the Phase Four reopening of Manhattan, we are able to accommodate clients in our building by appointment only. The exhibition for this sale will open on 9 October and will close on 13 October at 5PM EDT. To schedule an appointment please click here or contact appointmentsNY@sothebys.com or +1 212 606 7171. You can read more about our safety requirements here.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Exhibition
- Lot 26
- Lot 12
- Lot 31
- Lot 4
- Lot 3
- Lot 9
Recto: Study of a young gentleman (Alcidas) doffing his hat (a study for Molière’s Le mariage forcé)
Verso: Study of a man (Tartuffe) with arms outstretched and separate studies of his head, and hands holding gloves (for Molière’s Tartuffe)
Estimate $14,000 – 18,000
- Lot 29
- Lot 10
- Lot 15
“Our father rarely talked about his art collection. He did not collect for value, as an investor, nor did he collect compulsively as some do. Rather he deliberately and carefully chose pieces in the latter third of his life which spoke to him.”
“Venice had a special place in his heart, and you can see it reflected in the prominent place Canaletto and Bellotto have in this collection.”
- The Rialto Bridge
The Rialto was the primary business district in Venice from the Middle Ages, and was the site of the only span across the Grand Canal until the 19th Century. The famous bridge that Canaletto paints here was not the first, but replaced an earlier medieval structure that began to collapse in the early 1500s. The elegance of the stone structure was one of the principal sights of Venice, and an image of it would have been one of the most important souvenirs any visitor to the city could take home.
GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO
Venice, a view of the Grand Canal looking north towards the Rialto Bridge
Estimate: $3,000,000 - 5,000,000
- Church of Santa Maria Formosa
The Campo Santa Maria Formosa is one of the largest squares in Venice, and is named for one of its most famous churches. The young Bernardo Bellotto painted this canvas when he was only a teenager, working for his uncle, Canaletto, whose own house was just around the corner.
Venice, a View of the Campo and Church of Santa Maria Formosa
Estimate: $3,000,000 - 5,000,000
A Love and Admiration for French Culture: Parisian Highlights from the Collection
Alastair Laing, to whom we are grateful for confirming the attribution to Boucher upon first hand inspection of the drawings in the Rohatyn collection, gave this informative talk at The Morgan Library & Museum in 2015 about François Boucher’s drawings: Who, and What Were They For? The drawings presented at minutes 12:14 and 45:40 in the video show the same sensitivity of topic and relate stylistically to lot 20 in our sale, Head-and-shoulders study of a Young Woman with a bird on her right wrist. The delicate portrayal of a woman in profile drawn in variations of trois crayons technique with addition of pastel are noteworthy examples of Boucher’s draughtsmanship.
Alastair Laing: Boucher’s Drawings: Who, and What, Were They For?
“The great thing about Felix Rohatyn was that he had three gifts that were essential to holding a society together and building a better future. He had a healthy respect for the past and the need to learn its lessons; he had an uncommon ability to analyze a conflict situation and explain it to people; but more important he had the ability to envision a better future and put together a plan to achieve it – and a dogged determination to stay with it even if it took 20 years.”
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, from remarks at the memorial service for Ambassador Rohatyn