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Sotheby’s Marathon – Part 1 – The Collection Of Mrs. John L. Marion

May 13, 2021
two images of Elvis

Andy Warhol

Sotheby’s began their May 12th marathon with a group of paintings from the collection of Mrs. John Marion (Anne Windfohr Marion). After looking at the works up for sale (most of which were very large), I wondered about the size of the home she lived in, so I did a little research. I discovered that Anne was the heiress to a vast fortune – her parents (and she has several of them since her mom was married four times) were stockbrokers, ranchers, horse breeders, and one was the founder of the Tandy Corporation. According to Wikipedia, in 2006, her net worth was estimated at $1.3 billion; she lived in a 19,000 square foot home in Fort Worth, Texas, and had additional residences in New Mexico, California, Wyoming, and New York City. It was interesting to note that she too was married four times (the last was to John L. Marion, who served as Chairman of Sotheby’s from 1975 to 1994), and founded the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She died in 2020. (I was unable to watch this part, so all prices include the buyer’s premium)

abstract painting

Clyfford Still

The sale offered 18 works by significant artists of the 20th century – most of which were impressive. The top lot was Andy Warhol’s Elvis 2 Times. This 1963 silkscreen ink and silver paint on canvas measured 81 x 71 inches and was purchased in 1999 from a gallery in New York. It carried a $20-30M estimate and sold for $37M. Clyfford Still’s PH-125 (1948-No.1), measuring 74 x 68 inches and purchased from a New York dealer, was expected to make $25-35M and came in at a close second when it sold for $30.7M. Taking the number three spot was Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park #40. This 93 x 80 inch oil and charcoal on canvas dates from 1971, was purchased at Sotheby’s in 1990 for $1.76M and was estimated at $20-30M. There was a bit of action, and the work sold for $27.3M.

abstract painting with green, white and beige

Richard Diebenkorn

Other artists in the sale included Gerhard Richter ($23M – estimate $14-18M and purchased at Sotheby’s in 2012 for $16.8M), Roy Lichtenstein ($14M – est. $12-18M), Kenneth Noland ($4.3M – est. $2-3M), and Robert Motherwell ($5.1M – est. $4-6M). Sadly, several lots found no takers; these included a bronze by Marino Marini (est. $2-3M), along with large paintings by Franz Kline (est. $15-20M), Hans Hofmann (est. $4-6M), and Sam Francis (est. $5-7M).

When the session ended, of the 18 works offered, 14 sold (78%), and the total achieved was $157.2M (nothing to cry over). The estimated range was 132.8 – 190M, so they only made it with the buyer’s premium.

Again, this was just the first part of a very long evening (more than 4 ½ hours).