Philanthropist Anne Bass’s Major Art Collection Is Coming to Auction at Christie’s
The distinguished arts patron's remarkable cache includes stunning works by Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Mark Rothko
In her exalting obituary, Anne Bass was heralded for her contributions to the performing arts, most notably the New York City Ballet where she was a 25-year board member. Friends recalled her immaculately manicured Connecticut estate and voracious appetite for learning. And her collection of residences—from a Paul Rudolph masterpiece in Texas with a Russell Page landscape to a Fifth Avenue address designed by Mark Hampton—remain as bastions of good taste.
Now, another portion of her legacy is being put forward—her exceptional collection of art, which is being sold in a May 12 auction at Christie’s.
Taking place in New York during Christie’s Marquee Week, the 12-lot single-owner evening sale is estimated to achieve more than $250 million. “The Anne Bass Collection represents and bridges the best of the 19th and 20th centuries, of form and abstraction, of style and thought,” Max Carter, head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s, said in a statement. “Everywhere in her apartment there were exquisitely calibrated affinities and dialogues, between the enigmatic windows of Balthus and Hammershøi; between the dancers of Degas in pastel and bronze; between the flowering of Impressionism and the New York School; between Monet and Rothko. When showing his great Seagram murals, Rothko said ‘They are not pictures, I have made a place.’ Mrs. Bass’s collection was simply that: A total work of art.”
Expected to be the sale’s top achievers are two vibrant works by Rothko, Untitled (Shades of Red) and No. 1, predicted to achieve above $60 million and $45 million respectively. “As a collector, Anne Bass was timeless,” Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, said in a statement. “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.”
Ahead of the live auction, the pieces were displayed at Christie’s London headquarters, before traveling to Hong Kong, where they’ll be on view April 20 and 21. “The Collection of Anne Bass 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,” stated Bonnie Brennan, President, Christie’s Americas. “I am particularly honored to celebrate such a strong female collecting voice with this remarkable collection.”