Sotheby’s to Auction Art from Texas Heiress’s Estate
The pandemic kept most plum art estates away from auction in 2020, but Sotheby’s just landed the Texas-size collection of Fort Worth rancher and oil heiress Anne Marion. Ms. Marion, who died early last year at age 81, was married to a retired Sotheby’s chairman and famed auctioneer, John Marion.
Beginning in May, Sotheby’s plans to sell roughly 200 works worth at least $150 million combined from Ms. Marion’s estate of 20th century art and jewelry. It is shaping up to be the art market’s first major estate test of the year.
None of the pieces in the initial set of 18 postwar paintings coming up for bid in New York is expected to fetch the $92 million spent at Sotheby’s last month for a Botticelli. However, the Marion estate contains several colorful trophies in the $20 million to $35 million range that could gauge bidders’ willingness to splurge. “The market feels comfortable at those levels,” said Amy Cappellazzo, Sotheby’s chairman of fine art.
Many of the works have been out of sight since Ms. Marion bought them in the 1980s and 1990s, including Clyfford Still’s red and ocher abstract from 1948, “PH-125 (1948-No. 1),” which is estimated to sell for at least $25 million. Others nod to Ms. Marion’s cowgirl upbringing, like Andy Warhol’s gun-toting silkscreen from 1963, “Elvis 2 Times,” which is estimated to sell for at least $20 million. Even the turquoise and apricot hues of Richard Diebenkorn’s 1971 “Ocean Park No. 40” evoke the Southwest, said Sotheby’s senior international specialist Michael Macaulay.
Ms. Marion’s reputation as a horse-breeding, cultural doyenne could add to the works’ appeal. The fourth generation of a pioneering ranching family—her great-grandfather was among the first in Texas to graze cattle—she managed and expanded the family’s oil and quarter-horse empires while maintaining a 260,000-acre ranch, Four Sixes. She took cues on art collecting from her mother, Anne Burnett Tandy, who hired I.M. Pei in 1969 to design her angular, concrete home in the town of Westover Hills. Ms. Marion moved into the home after her mother died, and in 1988 she married Mr. Marion, the auctioneer who helped her sell her mother’s art estate. The year before, he handled the $54 million sale of Vincent van Gogh’s “Irises.”