El Greco, Saint Dominic in Prayer, est. £3-5m. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Later this year, Sotheby’s will offer for sale 141 works of art, including important paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from the renowned collection of the late Dr. Gustav Rau, the great 20th Century philanthropist and collector. Works will be offered across a broad range of categories, including Impressionist & Modern, Old Master & British Paintings, 19th Century European Paintings and European Sculpture and Works of Art. Highlights include Claude Monet’s oil on canvas Le Pont de Bois (est. £4-6 million); El Greco’s Saint Dominic in Prayer (est. £3-5 million) and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo’s Jacopo Porto Appointed Governor of Vicenza (est. £3-5 million) With a combined total value in excess of £16 million, the collection is being sold by UNICEF Germany to fund long-term assistance programs for children, and especially to further assist the Ciriri hospital in eastern Congo. 

Dr. Philipp Duke of Württemberg, Chairman Sotheby's Europe, Managing Director Sotheby's Germany, said: “Dr. Rau collected with a rare energy and wisdom. An austere man who wasted no money on himself, he was nonetheless always ready to pursue the greatest works of art, across all schools and genres, to create one of the 20th Century’s most comprehensive and exciting collections. It is a tremendous honour for Sotheby’s to be handling works from this illustrious collection and to know that the funds will be used to further causes close to Dr. Rau’s heart.” 

Gustav Rau (1922-2002), scion of a wealthy German industrialist family, was a truly unique collector. Having followed his father into the automotive business, at the age of 40, he decided to train as a doctor with the intention of working in the developing world. Following his father’s death, he sold the family company and began to use the proceeds to help diminish poverty in the Third World. He moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he lived for two decades, building a hospital at Ciriri and serving as a doctor for the surrounding community. Over a period of 40 years, he also indulged his passion for the arts, building one of the world’s most important private collections – travelling from his remote village in Africa to purchase prized works in the salerooms of Europe. Self-taught, but with an instinctive eye, his collection encompassed superb works from the early Quattrocento all the way through to the Modern era. On his death, Dr. Rau bequeathed his outstanding collection to UNICEF. 

Works from the Rau Collection will be offered in:

• Sotheby’s London Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, 19th June 2013

• Sotheby’s London Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale, 20th June 2013

• Sotheby’s London 19th Century European Paintings, 23rd May 2013

• Sotheby’s London European Sculpture and Works of Art, 2nd July 2013

• Sotheby’s London Old Master & British Paintings Sale, 3rd/4th July 2013

• Sotheby’s London Collections Sale, 24th September 2013

• Sotheby’s Zurich, Swiss Art Sale, 2013


Claude Monet, Le Pont de Bois, est. £4-6m. Photo: Sotheby's