Sotheby’s New York has secured the rights to consigning the latest trove of a private art collection to hit the market, belonging to the late Texan heiress and rancher Anne Marion, who died last year at the age of 81.
The collection, which is valued at over $150m, is rich in works by American postwar artists like Andy Warhol, Clyfford Still, and Roy Lichtenstein. It will be sold across a total of eight sales in several categories, including 20th century art, American art, Old Masters, and Jewellery.
Marion was a fourth-generation heiress who owned the Burnett Oil company, as well as Burnett Ranches, which are among the most storied family-run businesses in Texas that include the legendary Four Sixes ranch. The companies were founded by her great grandfather but it was Marion who went on to expand the business empires and at one point amassing a net worth of over $1 billion that made her one of the country’s highest profile art patrons.
Marion also co-founded the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe and was an avid art collector. Her widower and fourth husband John Marion was an auctioneer and chairman at Sotheby’s. Marion’s collection spans several categories but the bulk of the value lies in Warhol’s “Double Elvis” (1963, est $20-$30m), which shows the singer as a gunslinging cowboy, as well as Richard Diebenkorn’s 7ft “Ocean Park No. 40” (1971, est $20-$30m) and Clyfford Still’s “Painting No. 1 (PH-125)” from 1948 (est $25m-$35m).
Roy Lichtenstein’s 1977 painting Girl with Beach Ball II, from the artist’s Surrealism-inspired period, is expected to sell for $12m–$18m. Its counterpart, Girl with Beach Ball III, is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Additionally, works by Franz Kline, Gerhard Richter, Robert Motherwell, Wayne Thiebaud, and Kenneth Noland sell at values between $4 million and $20 million. The pandemic has placed major estate collection sales of this value on hold, but with works such as these, the Marion collection is expected to comfortably match postwar trophy pieces with competitive buyers.
John Marion is best remembered for his role in selling of some of the most high-profile works ever to come through Sotheby’s, like Vincent van Gogh’s Irises (which sold for $53.9m), Pablo Picasso’s Yo Picasso ($47.9m), and Au Lapin Agile ($40.7m).