Big sale in the Big Apple

Texas philanthropist Anne H. Bass’ art collection hauls in $363.1 million at Christie's auction

Texan benefactor’s art collection nabs $363.1M at Christie's auction

CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926), Le Parlement, soleil couchant
Monet’s Le Parlement now ranks as the fifth most expensive Monet painting ever auctioned. Photo courtesy of Christie's

A dozen pieces of art from the collection of the late Texas philanthropist Anne Hendricks Bass fetched a whopping $363.1 million at a recent auction in New York City.

Christie’s auction house initially had forecast the Fort Worth benefactor’s collection would rake in at least $250 million — about $113 million below the actual take. The $363.1 million total works out to an average of almost $30.3 million per piece.

Le Parlement, soleil couchant (The Houses of Parliament, at Sunset), an early 20th century oil painting by Claude Monet, hauled in the most money — nearly $76 million — among the 12 artworks sold May 12. The Christie’s auction house had figured the painting would garner anywhere from $40 million to $60 million.

Monet’s Le Parlement now ranks as the fifth most expensive Monet painting ever auctioned, according to the Artnet Price Database.

Two other Monet paintings, Nymphéas (Water Lilies) and Peupliers au bord de l’Epte, automne (Poplars on the Banks of the Epte, Autumn), sold for $56.5 million and $36.5 million, respectively. Those sale prices exceeded the low end of Christie’s estimates.

Meanwhile, two Mark Rothko oil paintings went for $66.8 million (Shades of Red) and $49.6 million (No. 1). Those sale prices were above the lowest estimates calculated by Christie’s.

At a sale price of $41.6 million, Edgar Degas’ Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (Little Dancer Aged 14) set a record for a Degas work. Christie’s highest sale estimate for the bronze sculpture was $30 million.

Christie’s called the Bass collection “the most significant American collection to come to market this season.” None of the buyers of the 12 artworks were identified.

“The Anne H. Bass collection represented the pinnacle of the artists it contained, the pinnacle of taste, the pinnacle of modern collecting. We were 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,” Max Carter, head of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s, says in a news release.

Christie’s announced in March that it been hired by Bass’ estate to auction off the 12-piece collection. The collection came from her Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City.

Christie’s has described the collection as an assembly of “masterpieces that was profoundly rigorous yet deeply personal, shaped by her remarkably informed eye and female perspective in a world dominated by male collectors.”

Bass was the ex-wife of Sid Bass, the Fort Worth investor and oil heir whose net worth is estimated at $3.6 billion. She reportedly received a $200 million to $500 million settlement as part of their high-profile divorce in the 1980s.

Anne Bass died of ovarian cancer in April 2020 at the age of 78. A longtime resident of the Fort Worth area, she was an avid supporter of the city’s nonprofits and arts organizations, including The Cliburn, Jewel Charity Ball, Junior League, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Modern Art Museum.