Art on the block
Texas heiress' $150 million art trove up for grabs in upcoming auction
Late Fort Worth philanthropistAnne Windfohr Marion's private art collection, estimated at $150 million, is going on auction through Sotheby's next month.
The treasure trove in "Collection of an American Visionary" includes post-war American art masterpieces and other works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, and more. A few of Marion's prized fine jewels are also being auctioned.
In a release, Sotheby's calls Marion's assemblage "the most significant collection to come to auction for years."
Marion, a Texas ranching heiress, died in February 2020 at age 81. She left behind a Texas ranching empire about one-third the size of Rhode Island, which went on the market late last year for more than $340 million.
The artworks on auction had decorated Anne and John Marion's palatial Fort Worth home. Others are being gifted to the Kimbell Art Museum and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Sotheby's says.
Marion was a champion of the arts in Fort Worth, and she and husband John, a former Sotheby’s chairman and auctioneer, founded the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
According to the release, highlights of the collection are:
Andy Warhol, Elvis 2 Times, 1963. Estimate: $20M-$30M. "Perhaps the most famous depiction of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll by the Prince of Pop Art, Warhol’s 1963 Elvis 2 Times represents a watershed moment in twentieth-century Art History," they say. "The painting combines an investigation of the uniquely American fascination with celebrity and mass media that emerged in the 1960s with unsettling visual evocation of both violence and desire. For the compulsive movie-fan Warhol, Elvis as the reluctant gunslinger presented the zenith of subject matter: ultimate celebrity invested with ultimate power."
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 40, 1971. Estimate: $20M-$30M. "Richard Diebenkorn’s seven-foot-tall Ocean Park No. 40 from 1971 displays all the hallmarks of the artist at the height of his genius as a colorist and compositional innovator, and is testament to his illustrious place in the canon of American abstract art," they say.
Roy Lichtenstein, Girl with Beach Ball II, 1977. Estimate: $12M-$18M. "Girl with Beach Ball II hails from the height of Roy Lichtenstein’s celebrated Surrealist period and references a diverse range of artists, periods, and masterpieces: Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso," they say.
Clyfford Still, PH-125 (1948-No. 1), 1948. Estimate: $25M-$35M. "Clyfford Still’s masterwork PH-125 (1948-No. 1) bears witness to one of the critical watersheds of twentieth-century Art History: the birth of the Abstract Expressionist movement," they say. "Painted when the artist was a highly influential professor at the California School of Fine Arts, this work epitomizes Still’s pioneering endeavor to establish a new aesthetic school defined by an emphasis on unbound scope and a rejection of representational instincts."
Franz Kline, Mister, 1959. Estimate: $15-20M. "Held in Mrs. Marion’s collection for nearly four decades, Franz Kline’s Mister emerges as an irrefutable masterwork of the artist’s extraordinary oeuvre," they say. "Painted in 1959 during Kline’s most revered stylistic period, this work announces the artist’s sophisticated brand of Action Painting on monumental scale and is one of the most strikingly confident compositions of his output."
In addition to a dedicated auction for Marion's fine art collection, Sotheby’s will also hold an online sale of select jewelry pieces. "As with the masterworks of 20th century American art she acquired with her husband, Mrs. Marion’s appreciation for American-made design extends to her jewelry collection, boasting signature pieces by Verdura, Andrew Clunn, and most notably, David Webb," Sotheby's says.
According to the Sotheby's website, bidding in "American Visionary: Fine Jewels from the Collection of Mrs. John L. Marion" opens May 10 and "American Visionary: The Collection of Mrs. John L. Marion" live auction will take place May 12.
Highlights of the collection were on display in Fort Worth through March 21, at an undisclosed location. They'll also be displayed in Palm Beach, Florida; Los Angeles; Taipei; London; and East Hampton before returning to Sotheby's galleries in New York for a pre-sale exhibition.