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Late Philanthropist Anne Bass’ Art Collection Auctions for $363 Million

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Anne H. Bass collection | Image by Christie's

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Twelve works of art from the late Fort Worth philanthropist Anne Hendricks Bass’ collection brought in an astounding $363.1 million at a recent auction in New York City.

The estate of Anne H. Bass hired Christie’s Auction House to sell the 12-piece collection, which originated in Bass’ Fifth Avenue, New York City apartment.

Christie’s described the array of works as “the most significant American collection to touch the market this season.”

“The Anne H. Bass collection represented the pinnacle of the artists it contained, the pinnacle of taste, the pinnacle of modern collecting,” Max Carter, the head of Christie’s impressionist and modern art department, stated in a press release.

Max added, “[Christie’s was] beyond honored to work on the estate’s behalf and gratified that these works and her example inspired collectors around the world just as they have inspired us.”

While all 12 pieces sold, none of the buyers have been identified.

Christie’s Auction House had previously estimated that the collection would bring in at least $250 million, around $113 million less than the final take.

Out of the 12 artworks sold on May 12, Le Parlement, Soleil couchant (The Houses of Parliament, at Sunset), an oil painting by Claude Monet from the early 20th century, brought in the most significant money at about $76 million. According to Christie’s, the piece was expected to net between $40 and $60 million for the Bass estate.

Monet’s Le Parlement is now the fifth most expensive of his paintings ever sold at an auction, according to the Artnet Price Database. Nymphéas (Water Lilies) and Peupliers au bord de l’Epte, Automne, two more of his works, sold for $56.5 million and $36.5 million, well above Christie’s minimum estimate.

Two oil paintings by Mark Rothko, No. 1 and Shades of Red, sold for $66.8 million and $49.9 million, respectively, again above the estimate.

Edgar Degas’ Petite danseuse de quatorze ans, also known as Little Dancer Aged 14, sold for $41.6 million, setting a new record for a Degas work. Christie’s did not expect the bronze sculpture to sell for more than $30 million.

Christie’s described the collection as “masterpieces that [were] profoundly rigorous yet deeply personal, shaped by [Bass’] remarkably informed eye and female perspective in a world dominated by male collectors.”

Anne Bass died of ovarian cancer in April 2020, at the age of 78. She lived in the Fort Worth area for many years and supported several philanthropic and artistic institutions, including The Cliburn, the Jewel Charity Ball, the Junior League, the Texas Ballet Theater, the Modern Art Museum, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Bass was the ex-wife of Fort Worth billionaire and oil heir Sid Bass, who had a net worth of $3.6 billion. Due to their high-profile divorce in the 1980s, she earned a settlement of between $200 million and $500 million.

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