Billionaires from around the world fought for a chance to own Peggy and David Rockefeller’s art trophies, sending paintings by Henri Matisse and Claude Monet to record prices at Christie’s in New York on Tuesday.

The evening sale of 44 lots of 19th and 20th century art from the collection tallied $646.1 million, surpassing the low estimate of $484 million. Every single lot sold. Five more live auctions from the estate will take place this week as well as an online sale that runs through May 11, offering more than 1,500 items, including porcelain, silver and furniture. The estate’s proceeds will benefit 12 institutions selected by the Rockefellers.

“We are now very well on our way to achieving the goal our parents set for their philanthropic legacy, and we are eagerly looking forward to what the rest of this historic week will bring,” David Rockefeller Jr. said in a statement on behalf of his extended family.

Christie’s guaranteed the estate an undisclosed minimum price, offsetting its risk with 13 third-party guarantees, announced prior to the sale for many of the top lots.

Among them was the evening’s most expensive work -- a 1905 Pablo Picasso painting of a teenage nude, "Fillette à la corbeille fleurie" -- that fetched $115 million, the highest price for Picasso after his $179.4 million record set three years ago. It had been estimated at $100 million. (Prices include buyer’s fees; estimates don’t.)

Matisse’s 1923 painting “Odalisque couchee aux magnolias,” depicting a voluptuous female with her arms folded behind her head on a green chaise longue also drew tepid bidding. It sold to Xin Li Cohen, deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia, on behalf of a client, for $80.7 million, compared with an estimate of $70 million. The price smashed the French artist’s previous auction record of $48.8 million.

“There’s resistance at the top level," said Brett Gorvy, co-owner of Levy Gorvy gallery in New York and London, adding that the results for Picasso and Matisse were disappointing “after so much hype.”

Christie’s spent six months marketing the collection around the world, with special campaigns in China, Japan, France and the Gulf States. Some 80,000 people saw the traveling exhibition.

The premium to own a work from the Rockefeller family could be felt in frenzied bidding for many lower priced works in the collection.

“The Rockefeller name was clearly bankable in the auction room," said art lawyer Thomas C. Danziger, a partner at Danziger, Danziger & Muro LLP.

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