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Pikesville philanthropist's $30 million art collection to go on auction block

The late Pikesville philanthropist Stanford Z. Rothschild
The late Pikesville philanthropist Stanford Z. Rothschild((Sam Friedman / Patuxent Publishing))

Attention Art World Shoppers:

The world-class collection of the late Pikesville philanthropist Stanford Z. Rothschild Jr., valued at $30* million, is about to go on the auction block at Christie’s just in time for holiday giving.

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The auction house announced Wednesday that the 51 artworks include two landscapes by Claude Monet and a painting each by El Greco (the nickname for the artist Domenikos Theotokopoulos) and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Claude Monet's 1908 oil painting "Le Rio de la Salute"
Claude Monet's 1908 oil painting "Le Rio de la Salute"((Christie's))

Also to be sold are works by other artists nearly as widely known, including Georges Braque, Odilon Redon and Robert Delaunay.

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Rothschild, who founded the investment management firm Rothschild Co., died Feb. 13 in his Pikesville home at age 91. During four decades of buying art, he assembled one of the largest privately owned collections of 20th-century Russian avante-garde artists, the auction house said in a news release. Some of the works are being sold by the charitable foundation that Rothschild founded.

“Stanford Rothschild Jr.’s 40-year journey in art collection was distinguished by an ambitious range and keen sense of quality,” Conor Jordan, Christie’s deputy chairman of Impressionist and modern art, said in the release. “Few collections range from the 17th to the 20th century; fewer still are as rich in prime examples from the artists represented.”

Highlights include “Le Rio de la Salute,” a gorgeous oil painting in mauves and greens that Monet created in 1908 of a scene from Venice that’s expected to fetch between $7 million and $10 million, as well as “La Pointe du Petit Ailly,” which the French Impressionist master painted in 1897 of an imposing cliff on the Normandy coast. That artwork is expected to attract bids of between $6 million and $8 million. The Monets will be sold in New York on Nov. 13.

El Greco’s somber “Saint Francis and Brother Leo in Meditation,” in which Francis cradles a human skull, is expected to bring in between 5 million and 7 million British pounds (or roughly $6.6 million to $9.2 million American) when it goes under the gavel in London on Dec. 7.

At those prices, O’Keeffe’s glowing crimson “Apples — No. 1” from 1920, which is signed with the artist’s initials, seems a relative bargain with an expected sale price of between $300,000 and $500,000. The exquisite little still life, just six inches tall by eight inches wide, will be sold Nov. 21 in New York.

Robert Delaunay's 1928 oil painting, "La Tour Eiffel" could sell for up to $3.5 million
Robert Delaunay's 1928 oil painting, "La Tour Eiffel" could sell for up to $3.5 million((Christie's))

The philanthropist’s son, David Rothschild, told a Sun reporter earlier this year that his father was fascinated by the history of the paintings he collected and loved to talk about them. Many of the works have a theme of political oppression.

“It was not about the beauty,” David Rothschild said. “It was about the purpose or the political meaning or the intent. It was beyond the aesthetic."

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