David Rockefeller, Philanthropist and Art Collector, Remembered

Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Fruit Dish (1879–80), a fractional gift from Rockefeller to MoMA.
Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Fruit Dish (1879–80), a fractional gift from Rockefeller to MoMA.
(Wikipedia)
  • Cover of David Rockefeller Memoirs

    Cover of David Rockefeller Memoirs

Billionaire banker David Rockefeller died Monday morning at the age of 101.

The last living grandson of oil mogul John D. Rockefeller, David Rockefeller made his own reputation over several decades as a banker, philanthropist, art collector, world traveler and influencer in political and business circles, in the U.S. and abroad.

A longtime executive at Chase Manhattan Bank, Rockefeller built a fortune on his inherited wealth. Forbes estimates his net worth at $3.3 billion upon his death in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. He gave away about $2 billion during his lifetime and was among 40 billionaires to pledge half or more of their wealth to charity.

His mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, helped found New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and he served on its board for many years and as honorary chairman, giving $100 million in a bequest in 2005, reports the New York Times. His own art collection is estimated to be worth $500 million.

Rockefeller contributed $77 million toward MoMA’s $858 renovation plan, according to Artnews. Works by modern masters such as Paul Cézanne, André Derain, Willem de Kooning, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Pablo Picasso, were among his collection, notes Artnews. He sold a 1950 Mark Rothko painting at Sotheby's in 2007 for $72.8 million--then a record for a postwar artwork at auction.

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