Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908 – 1979) was not only a brilliant businessman and a liberal politician, who served as the 41st Vice President and as the 49th New York Governor, but he was also the most passionate art collector, whose taste reflected his endless appetite, understanding, and love for art. His friend Alfred Barr, the first Director of MoMA famously said about him that he 'needed' art more than anyone else. The upcoming sale of his collection 'A Collecting Legacy' at Sotheby's reveals the magnificent taste and interests when coming to décor and lifestyle of his and his wife Happy. In the 1930s Rockefeller invited Jean-Michel Frank, the greatest Surrealist, and most visionary decorator of all time (cousin of Anna Frank), to design his apartment in Manhattan, and it was the first New York commission for Frank, who later committed suicide in the city. It is to this interior, that Frank had brought the stunning furnishings by his friend and collaborator Alberto Giacometti, offered at this sale. In the 70s, Rockefeller built a Japanese pavilion in Pocantico Hills, the grounds of his family's estate, fully furnished by George Nakashima. The collection is enormous and for this post, I have selected two extraordinary pieces by Giacometti and pieces from the Swan Service, the most legendary and magical porcelain service in history. Created in the German factory Meissen in the 18th century, this enormous set was made for Heinrich von Bruhl, the minister of the Electorate of Saxony. It represented a triumph of modelling and firing when porcelain was first produced in Europe, following centuries of investigation. This Swan Service contained over 2,000 pieces, each different, each artistically created in low relief or three-dimension, and decorated with the motif of the swan, in white and gold. It represented the new culture of entertaining, which the discovery of porcelain promoted in Europe. Images of Nelson and Happy Rockefeller Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.
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