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The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, the billionaire American philanthropists, will be auctioned at Christie’s New York in May.

The sale will include paintings, English and European furniture, American decorative arts and furniture, silver, Asian works of art, European ceramics and Chinese export porcelain - including 67 dinner services. The stand-out masterpieces include works by Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Jean Baptiste and Camille Corot.

David Rockefeller, who died last year aged 101, was the youngest son of American philanthropist John D Rockefeller Jr, and the last surviving grandson of Standard Oil baron John D Rockefeller Snr – the US’s first billionaire.

The sale of the 1500 works is expected to surpass the current record for a single-owner collection which was set by the Yves Saint Laurent sale in 2009 when it achieved $443m.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on February 19, Christie's global president Jussi Pylkkänen predicted the sale would be the “greatest auction to take place of a single owner collection” and claimed it will “trump the Yves Saint Laurent sale at over $600m.”

David Rockefeller Jnr, speaking on the same programme, said: “What I hope is that a reasonable number of these great works will actually end up in public spaces in museums around the world and be seen by many people. I travel to China on an annual basis and we are very impressed with the number of new private museums that are very beautiful structures but don’t have a lot of great art in them, so I am hoping to be able to return to China and see some of my parents’ art in great new Chinese museums.”

The auction will take place during the week of May 7 and comprise 900 lots across live auctions, expected to be over two evenings sales, plus 600 lots online.

Highlights of the tour will be on view at Christie’s King Street in London from February 21-March 8. The preview will then travel to Paris, Beijing, Shanghai and Los Angeles in April followed by New York.

The money raised will go to charities and trusts that Peggy and David supported in their lifetime.