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PaperCity Houston_April_2021

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PORTRAIT OF A [150 MILLION DOLLAR] TEXAS LADY A nne Marion, Fort Wo r t h f o u r t h - g e n e r a t i o n ranching-and-oil heiress, couldn't have differed more in her collecting interests, family background, and demeanor from the understated European Dominique de Menil, heir to the Schlumberger fortune and co-founder of The Menil Collection BY ATLEE PHILLIPS in Houston. Yet in her own way, Marion's disciplined eye, bold vision, and abundant philanthropy made as important a contribution in her lifetime as did her fellow (adopted) Texan, Mrs. de Menil. Although on the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, Marion played her greatest role in her hometown vis- à-vis three institutions: the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and, reflecting her heritage, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame (where she was inducted in 2005). And, like the extraordinary Dominique, Marion went on to found a museum: in her case, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, dedicated to a woman as strong and tenacious as herself, and one equally at home on the land. Living a big American life against the broad panorama of the West, Marion, who passed away in February 2020, age 81, presided as president over her family's Four Sixes Ranch, established 1870, and its vast 260,000 acreage and fabled quarter horse program and Black Angus herds. Also among Marion's titles were president of the munificent Burnett Foundation — she is great granddaughter of the maverick cattleman Captain Samuel "Burk" Burnett (1849-1922) — which to date has gifted $600 million to charities, notably arts and humanities. And she is chairman of Burnett Oil Company, built upon oil strikes in 1921 and again in 1969, which made the grand patron's largesse possible. Now Sotheby's has landed the tremendous coup of auctioning her collection, which commands an estimate of $150 million. Despite her four- decade marriage to John Marion, the former chairman and chief auctioneer of Sotheby's North America (her fourth husband; the couple wed in 1988, and co-founded the O'Keeffe Museum in 1997), it was not a given that the collection would come to Sotheby's, which had to vie for it, according to the auction house's VP/senior press officer, Derek Parsons. This May — date still being determined at press time — the first of eight sales encompassing 200-some works from the Marion collection goes on the block, scheduled for a plum evening spot in its spring calendar. "American Visionary: The Collection of Mrs. John L. Marion" features a mere 18 lots — but what works of art these are, coming from the walls of her I.M. Pei house in Fort Worth, where they hung for decades. For a glimpse into the remarkable woman who collected them, we reached out to the Fort Worth museum directors Legendary patron, museum maker, and larger-than-life ranch- and-oil heiress Anne Marion's bold art collection goes on the block. CATHERINE D. ANSPON PREVIEWS THE MOST ANTICIPATED AUCTION OF THE SEASON. Anne Marion, at her Texas ranch, circa 1966 ARTWORK IMAGES COURTESY OF SOTHEBY'S. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY THE ESTATE OF MRS. JOHN L. MARION AND SOTHEBY'S. (Continued on page 54) 52

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