Money for Monet

Texas philanthropist's $250 million art collection goes on auction

Texas philanthropist's $250 million art collection goes on auction

Anne H. Bass art collection
Interior of Anne H. Bass's New York City home. From left to right: Mark Rothko, Untitled (Shades of Red); Claude Monet, Le Parlement, soleil couchant; Rothko, No. 1. Photo courtesy of Christie's

A collection of 12 artworks owned by late Fort Worth philanthropist Anne Hendricks Bass is hitting the auction block in May in a sale that’s expected to fetch more than $250 million.

The dozen artworks come from Bass’ Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City. She was the ex-wife of Sid Bass, the Fort Worth investor and oil heir whose net worth is estimated at $3.4 billion.

Anne H. Bass died of ovarian cancer in April 2020 at the age of 78. A longtime resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she was an avid supporter of local nonprofits and arts organizations, including Jewel Charity Ball, Junior League, Texas Ballet Theater, the Cliburn, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Modern Art Museum.

“These 12 works form a singularly compelling narrative that speaks to both the power of connoisseurship, and the enduring relevance and radicality that characterize the greatest works of art,” says Christie’s, the famed auction house selling "The Collection of Anne H. Bass."

The auction will take place in May during Christie’s annual week of 20th and 21st century art sales in New York.

Christie’s describes the collection as an assembly of “masterpieces that was profoundly rigorous yet deeply personal, shaped by her remarkably informed eye and female perspective in a world dominated by male collectors.”

“Guided by extensive knowledge and insight, Mrs. Bass acquired works and presented them in her home in a manner that established provocative dialogues across artistic periods — a poetic call and response spanning two centuries,” Christie’s adds.

Among the artworks being sold are:

  • Four paintings by Claude Monet collectively valued at $105 million to $165 million.
  • Two paintings by American artist Mark Rothko collectively valued at $105 million to $145 million.
  • A bronze sculpture by French artist Edgar Degas valued at $20 million to $30 million.
  • A painting by French artist Balthus valued at $4 million to $6 million.

The Anne Bass collection “represents everything that today’s buyers are seeking: masterpiece quality, rarity, incredible freshness to the market, and most of all, a reflection of a sophisticated collector who knew perfection when she saw it,” Bonnie Brennan, president of Christie’s Americas, says in a news release.

Ahead of the auction, selected pieces from the collection will be exhibited April 5-8 in London and April 20-21 in Hong Kong before being returned to New York.

“As a collector, Anne Bass was timeless,” says Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th and 21st century art. “Truly passionate about art in all of its forms, she not only appreciated beautiful objects, but she lived with them. These paintings and sculptures were more than just possessions to Mrs. Bass; they were part of her home and her day-to-day life.”