Rothschild Masterpieces Are Coming to Christie’s This Fall

The collection coming to auction includes and Old Master paintings and furnishings from the family's grand Chateau de Ferrieres.

Grand hall decorated with table, chairs and lxuurious decor
The music room of the Rothschild’s Chateau de Ferrieres. De Agostini via Getty Images

A collection of artwork and decor from the historic Rothschild family, known for their vast fortune and lavish taste, is coming to auction this fall at Christie’s in what will be the first-ever North American sale of objects from the family.

With members spread across Europe, the empire of the Rothschild family began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a German banker who established a banking business in the 1670s and was a court factor to the German Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel in the Free City of Frankfurt.

The family’s proclivity for extravagant furnishings spawned the term “goût Rothschild,” referring to an opulent style of heavy fabrics and gilding. The family’s signature decor style was adopted by Gilded Age elites, including the Vanderbilts, Astors and Rockefellers, and influenced designers such as Yves Saint Laurent.

More than $20 million worth of furnishings and artwork

Christie’s is offering works from the collection of Baron James de Rothschild, his wife Betty and their sons Baron Alphonse and Baron Gustave. With an estimate of more than $20 million, the 600 lots will include furniture, enamels, Renaissance jewelry and Old Master paintings. A set of painted leather panels from Weißenstein castle is estimated to sell for $1.5 million.

Long series of leather panels depicting people celebrating
Dutch School 17th Century, Follower of Rembrandt, The Triumph of David. Courtesy of Christie's.

The decor was assembled by two generations of the French Rothschilds throughout the second half of the 19th century, with much of it purchased for the Rothschild’s Chateau de Ferrieres. Located outside Paris, the residence opened in 1862 with a gala attended by Napoleon III. It was later donated by the family to France in 1975 and is now owned by the town of Ferrieres.

“Characteristically, both scholarly and sumptuous, the objects we are bringing to sale have been treasured by generations of the family and demonstrate the very essence of the term ‘goût Rothschild,'” said Jonathan Rendell, deputy chairman of Christie’s Americas, in a statement.

Black and white image of family dressed in suits and dresses posing for photo.
The French branch of the Rothschild family in 1967. Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Before being sold in a series of auctions at Rockefeller Center in October, the sumptuous collection will be exhibited in Hong Kong and London.

Christie’s has previously offered artwork and jewelry from the Rothschilds in several European auctions. It notably sold around 50 masterpieces from members of the family in a London sale in 2019 which realized £23.8 million ($29.3 million).

Rothschild Masterpieces Are Coming to Christie’s This Fall