Treasures From the Blue-Chip Art Collection of Texas Oil Heiress Anne Marion Could Fetch $150 Million at Sotheby’s

The late billionaire assembled a collection of 20th-century American masterworks that has rarely been seen in public.

Anne Marion on her Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. Courtesy of Sotheby's.
Anne Marion on her Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Sotheby’s has secured one of the more coveted collections on the American market: the estate of Anne Marion, a member of one of Texas’s wealthiest families.

Marion’s holdings, which will be sold in a series of sales beginning this spring, are expected to fetch around $150 million. The estate will serve as the first major test of the masterpiece market since lockdown began.

Clyfford Still, PH-125 (1948-No. 1) (1948). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Clyfford Still, PH-125 (1948-No. 1) (1948). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Together with her husband, John Marion, a former Sotheby’s chairman, Anne assembled a star-studded collection that has been largely unseen by the public for decades. It is filled with works that often top collectors’ must-buy lists, but rarely come to market.

Clyfford Still’s PH-125 (1948-No. 1) (1948) carries an estimate of $25 million to $35 million and is sure to make waves since major Stills are extremely rare.

Andy Warhol’s Elvis 2 Times (1963), expected to fetch between $20 million and $30 million, is likely to appeal even to what has become an increasingly picky market for the Pop art master.

Other highlights include Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl With Beach Ball II (1977), which has an estimate of $12 million to $18 million, and Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park No. 40 (estimated at $20 million to $30 million), from the artist’s most sought-after series.

Andy Warhol, Elvis 2 Times (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Andy Warhol, Elvis 2 Times (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Marion, who was a dedicated patron and the founder of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, died last February at the age of 81. (While most owners of high-wattage trophies have opted to keep their wares in storage rather than sell during a pandemic, Marion’s executors were likely compelled to sell to meet the taxes imposed on her estate.)

She inherited Texas’s renowned Four Sixes Ranch from her great-grandfather, Captain Samuel Burk Burnett, the founder of the Burnett Oil company. She served as president of the ranch, chairman of Burnett Oil Company, and president of the Burnett Foundation, which funneled millions into art museums and education.

A number of other works from her collection have been promised to the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, where she was the driving force behind a $65 million Tadao Ando-designed expansion in 2002.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 40, (1971). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 40, (1971). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

“Unpretentious and proud of her rancher legacy and lifestyle, Anne was a bold-hearted Texan through-and-through,” Sotheby’s fine arts division chairman Amy Cappellazzo said in a statement.

The collection does not come with a financial guarantee, according to a Sotheby’s representative.

While the most valuable objects in the collection are classic 20th-century American works by the likes of Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, and others, it also includes Old Masters, a Gerhard Richter abstract, and jewelry.

The sale will begin with an 18-lot dedicated evening auction in New York in May.


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