Anne Bass's NYC apartment

Inside Anne Bass' New York apartment | Source: Artnet News

Christie’s is Auctioning Anne H. Bass’ A$330 Million Art Collection in May

Christie’s announced last week it will be auctioning the art collection of philanthropist Anne H. Bass in May with the auction house expecting the artworks to fetch over A$330 million.

Described by Christie’s as “one of the most important American collections to appear on the market in decades,” the sale will offer 12 significant works from prominent 19th and 20th-century artists including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Mark Rothko. 

Crowning the sale with the highest estimate is Rothko’s Untitled (Shades of Red) from 1961 that’s expected to realise between A$80 and A$105 million. Just behind that is another Rothko, No. 1, from 1962 estimated to go for between A$60 and A$86 million.

Three Claude Monet pieces also carry high estimates – Le Parlement, soleil couchant from 1903 is expected to go for between A$53 and A$80 million. Nymphéas from 1907 is estimated to fetch up to A$73 million and Peupliers au bord de l’Epte (1891) is predicted to reach around up to A$66 million.

Featuring paintings and sculptures that adorned the halls and walls of Bass’s New York City apartment, the collection was amassed over roughly a decade, from the years of 1981 to 1989.

Anne Hendricks Bass, who passed away in 2020, was renowned for her support of dance, most notably the New York City Ballet. Her love of ballet is reflected in the collection’s number of famed portraits and sculptures of ballet dancers by French artist, Edgar Degas.

A 1927 bronze sculpture of a ballerina by Degas titled Petite danseuse de quatorze ans is estimated to sell for between A$26 and A$40 million while two Degas paintings are set to fetch between A$5 and A$8 million and A$1.6 and A$2.4 million.

Edgar Degas’ ‘Petite danseuse de quatorze ans’
Edgar Degas’ Petite danseuse de quatorze ans | Source: FT
Claude Monet’s ‘Poplars on the banks of the Epte, autumn’
Claude Monet’s Poplars on the banks of the Epte, autumn | Source: FT

After spending four years collaborating with Mark Hampton on the interiors of her Fifth Avenue apartment, Bass filled it with artworks that reflected her curiosity and intellectual and aesthetic rigour.

At a time when the art collecting world was dominated by men, she curated a collection that was a personal expression with pieces hung by Bass in her bedroom going under the hammer. 

Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art, said in a statement:

Truly passionate about art in all of its forms, she not only appreciated beautiful objects, but she lived with them. These paintings and sculptures were more than just possessions to Mrs. Bass, they were part of her home and her day-to-day life.

Edgar Degas pastel drawing
Edgar Degas pastel drawing that hung in Bass’ bedroom | Source: Forbes
Ballet dancer Heather Watts and Bass
Ballet dancer Heather Watts and Bass | Source: Forbes

Although the exact date is not yet known, the dedicated sale will commence the week of May 9 during the auction house’s marquee spring New York sales.

Before the sale, some selections from the Bass collection will be on display at Christie’s London from April 5 to 8 and then in Christie’s Hong Kong from April 20 to 21.

Also in the art world, read about Jeff Koons sending sculptures to the surface of the moon.

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