Philanthropist Anne H. Bass passed away in 2020. She left behind an enviable collection of 19th and 20th-century masterpieces. Now a dozen of these paintings and sculptures, including highly acclaimed works by Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Mark Rothko, is due to be auctioned at Christie’s.
In total, these twelve historical artworks are expected to bring in a staggering $250 million. Christie’s will hold a special sale on the Bass collection during the week of May 9 during the auction house’s New York Spring Sale. A specific date and time for the event have yet to be announced.
Top sellers are a pair of red Rothkos: Untitled (Shades of Red) (1961), which are guaranteed to sell with an estimated value of $60 million to $80 million, and No. 1 (1962), valued at $45 million to 65 million dollars.
Not far behind in price is Monet’s trio. They are Parliament, Soleil Couchant (1903), which is expected to cost between $40 million and $60 million; Nympheas (1907) estimated at $35–55 million; and Peupliers au bord de l’Epte (1891), which was predicted to sell for between $30 million and $50 million.
Another artist featured in the sale three times is Degas, whose famous portraits of ballet dancers resonated with Bass, a lifelong dancer herself and a major supporter of the New York City Ballet. The 40-inch-tall bronze sculpture of a ballerina, Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (1927), is valued at $20–30 million. And two paintings by the French artist are estimated at 4-6 million dollars and 1.2-1.8 million dollars.
Each of these masterworks, plus four others for sale, came directly from Bass’s elegant Mark Hampton-designed Fifth Avenue home. They were sent by the collector’s two daughters, Hyatt and Samantha Bass. The collection will rival the final chapter of Macklow’s coveted treasure trove. It will be auctioned this season at Sotheby’s for an expected amount of $300 million.
Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th and 21st-century art, said in a statement that as a collector, Anne Bass was timeless. Truly passionate about art in all its manifestations, she not only appreciated beautiful objects but also lived them. These paintings and sculptures were not just Anne Bass’s property, they were part of her home and her daily life.
Despite the fact that Anne Bass was a prominent representative of the high society for most of her life, she cultivated an atmosphere of seclusion. One day, she agreed to speak to a Texas Monthly reporter on the condition that he would not ask anything personal.
Anne Bass married her husband, Texas oil tycoon Sid Richardson Bass, in 1965. They settled in Fort Worth for 15 years before moving to New York. The couple separated in the late 80s. Anne Bass was left with the largest divorce settlement in Texas history at the time, estimated at $200 million.