This October, Christie’s in New York will sell hundreds of curated pieces from the decadent banking dynasty’s trove in a series of auctions.
Why are they selling their art? There is definitely more that meets the eye. Until we are actually able to see a manifest of the art it’s best to assume that this is no normal auction.
A number of years ago, I was trying to get an internship into the Sackler-Freer art gallery in Washington DC. I was working with a congressman who had connections with the Japanese art section department who were looking for an art historian. Unfortunately, that job fell through, the funding for my job was cut, but before the deal was chopped, the congressman told me a story about how the director of the Sackler-Freer was privately having donors and collectors buy things from the art archive secretly. They had lost an enormous amount of Southeast Asian art, some priceless headpieces and ceramics. It would have been my job to track down what was lost. I was told that the favor of buying this art illegally was in return, the donors would commit to donations to the museum and continue to have access to the archived art. ( Possibly buying more illegally?)
Point of this story is, that there’s more to this. Why would you sell large lots like this? Never before has the Rothschild family done this. Priceless treasures all up for auction. It could be a way to signal economic problems for the United States, advertising pay for play, or a closing of a deal. And the truth is, recently art has been used in ways to signal illegal activity. Auction houses are notorious middle men and many times the collections themselves hold great hints and symbolism of the true nature of the lot.