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David Rockefeller (1915–2017)

David Rockefeller, the head of Chase Manhattan banks, a lifelong Republican with liberal social leanings, a major benefactor of the arts, and the last surviving grandson of nineteenth-century industrialist John D. Rockefeller—the founder of Standard Oil and the United States’ first billionaire—has died, writes Jonathan Kandell of the New York Times.

Rockefeller’s art collection constitutes some fifteen thousand works. He collected art as well as furnishings, porcelain, and glass objects. His mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, founded New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1929. In the late 1940s, David replaced his mother on the museum’s board. He befriended many art collectors and, in 1968, convinced his brother Nelson, who was the chairman of CBS, as well as William S. Paley, CBS’s president, to purchase Gertrude Stein’s art collection. Works by Gauguin, Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse, amassed by David and his wife, Peggy, were lent to the museum on a permanent basis.

In 2005, the year of his ninetieth birthday, he promised a $100 million bequest to MoMA. Throughout his life, he donated millions of dollars to the museum, Harvard University, Rockefeller University—founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901—and other institutions.

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