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$250 Million in Art From Late Philanthropist Anne Bass’s Collection Is Heading to Auction

The philanthropist's collection includes 12 works of Impressionist and modern art that will sell this spring.

Philanthropist Anne Bass Apartment Courtesy of Christie's

Twelve works of Impressionist and modern art from the collection of philanthropist Anne Bass will be sold at Christie’s this spring.

Among those works are paintings by Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Mark Rothko. As a whole, the group is expected to fetch $250 million. Those pieces will hit the auction block during a single-owner sale held as part of Christie’s marquee modern and contemporary art sales in May.

Bass died at 78 in 2020. The ex-wife of Texas magnate Sid Richardson Bass, who amassed his wealth in the oil industry and later became a major Disney shareholder, she ranked on the annual ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list between 1990 and 1994.

She began collecting in the ’70s, and went on to grow a collection rich in Impressionist and modern art. Bass provided funding to the Fort Worth Art Museum, the New York City Ballet, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the New York Botanical Garden, and gifted couture pieces to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The most highly valued works headed to Christie’s are two Rothko paintings that once hung in the living room of Bass’s New York apartment.

One of them, Untitled (Shades of Red), is being given an estimate of $60 million–$80 million. The other, No. 1, an orange and pink abstraction, is estimated at $45 million–$65 million. Both are being offered with guarantees.

Meanwhile, a set of three Monet paintings, each estimated at prices between $30 million and $60 million, will also hit the block. A version of Degas’s famed sculpture of a young dancer was given a $20 million–$30 million estimate, and Balthus’s painting Jeune fille à la fenêtre, an interior view of a woman slouched over a living room window, is expected to sell for between $4 million and $6 million.

“The collection of Anne Bass represents everything that today’s buyers are seeking,” Bonnie Brennan, president of Christie’s Americas offices, said in a statement, calling Bass a “sophisticated collector who knew perfection when she saw it.”

It is the second major batch of Impressionist and modern artworks consigned from a private collection to Christie’s in the last year, after one from the late Texas oil mogul Edwin L. Cox. When pieces from Cox’s collection sold last year, they netted $332 million.

Highlights from the Bass collection will go on tour at Christie’s headquarters in London and Hong Kong, before going on view in New York ahead of the auction in May.

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