The late Anne H. Bass was many things to many people — philanthropist, socialite, arts patron, arbiter of taste, mother and more. Two years after her death at the age of 78, Christie’s will soon offer some of her art at auction.
Twelve works from premiere artists of the 19th and 20th centuries will be offered including Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Mark Rothko. “The Collection of Anne H. Bass” will be presented as a single-owner evening sale and it will be held during Christie’s Marquee Week of 20th and 21st Century Art sales at its Rockefeller Plaza location in New York. Bass’ dozens of items is expected to reap more than $250 million.
Degas’ bronze sculpture “Petite danseuse de quatorze ans” is expected to fetch between $20 million and $30 million. The ballerina sculpture hints at Bass’ fondness for ballet and her support of New York City Ballet, the School of American Ballet and the Texas Ballet. Two sizable paintings by Rothko “Shades of Red” and “No. 1” are estimated to rake in between $60 million and $80 million, and $45 million to $65 million, respectively. The sale will also feature Balthus’ “Jeune fille a la fenetre,” which is expected to sell between $4 million and $6 million.
The auction house flagged the upcoming sale with gusto, running a full-page ad in Friday’s New York Times of one of the paintings that will go under the gavel — Claude Monet’s “Peupliers au borde de l’Epte, Automne, 1891.” That painting — one of three Monets that will be sold — has an estimate of $30 million to $50 million.
All of the paintings, as well as the Degas sculpture, previously adorned Bass’ Fifth Avenue apartment. A Christie’s spokesperson said the nice part of the sale is that it follows the cadence of Bass’ home. A selection of the work will tour internationally starting at Christie’s London Tuesday through Friday. They will then be shown at the auction house’s Hong Kong outpost April 20 to 21, before being put on view at Christie’s in New York later this month.
The Midwestern-born Bass’ interest in art was first established when she was an undergraduate at Vassar, where she studied art history and Italian literature. Before she and her oil titan husband Sir Richardson Bass made their mark on New York City’s social scene in the early ’80s, the then-young mother built a modernist-style house with the architect Paul Rudolph.
Bass’ appreciation for design extended to fashion, more specifically couture. Having once worked at Bonwit Teller and Vogue, her refined taste could be seen in creations by John Galliano, Emanuel Ungaro, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent and other top-shelf designers. While Bass gave some of her selection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, there was no word back from Christie’s whether another sale is in the works for her fashion collection.