PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas November 2022

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Page 51 of 115

Love Affair with The Modern Both Anne Marion and her indomitable mother, the late Mrs. Tandy, were women of conviction. They knew their own minds, and each was synergistically attuned to cultural causes, especially a passion for collecting art. The love of Marion's life was aligned with her astute eye for the visual arts: her fourth husband, John L. Marion, is the former chairman and chief auctioneer of Sotheby's North America. The couple wed in 1988, co-founded the O'Keeffe Museum in 1997, and he survives her. Kimbell Art Museum director Eric M. Lee, whose institution benefited from her philanthropy, praised her knowledge and approach to buying art: "Anne Marion embodied the strength and fearlessness of the American West while having the discerning eye of a connoisseur." Unlike many top collectors whose names line the lists of Artnews Top 200 annually, Mrs. Marion eschewed hiring an art adviser. Daughter Windi Grimes recalls accompanying her mom to New York on a buying trip and lunching with the erudite dealer Leo Castelli. "She was very good at picking works that had the elements of color, contrast, boldness, theme, and line … Timeless is a perfect word for almost everything she did," Grimes says. "She would finish her business for the day and pick up her books and study. She would really, really study all the artists she collected. She didn't buy things just because they had a name, or because the dealer told her to. She honed her eye." Now this famous eye is on view at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in "Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion." Some 80 works by 47 icons of modern and contemporary art convey the narrative of Marion's remarkable commitment to her hometown museum. Michael Auping, former chief curator of The Modern, was coaxed out of retirement to curate this ode to an American museum-maker. "Modern Masters" spans extraordinary works that convey a half-century of American art history — especially paintings by Pollock, Gorky, de Kooning, Ellsworth Kelly, and Rothko, the latter described by Auping as "the masterpiece of the show." The exhibition also aligns with the 20th anniversary of the unveiling of the Tadao Ando building. Marion said of that milestone for The Modern during a 2003 interview with Fort Worth Business Press: "The birth of my child and the opening of the museum have been two of my proudest moments." The Modern's director, Marla Price, notes Marion's role in the museum's acclaimed architecture: "Anne Marion purchased the land for our new building and chaired the Building Committee that hired architect Tadao Ando … She was also lots of fun. Former chief curator Michael Auping and I traveled around Japan with her in early 1997 to see as many buildings by Ando as possible. She was so impressed with what she had seen that she kissed Mr. Ando when we arrived at his office in Osaka, much to his great surprise." Prior to the completion of the Ando building, Auping approached her with an opportunity that he felt would only add to the already incredible excitement surrounding the opening of the new $65 million museum. He asked Marion — whose name modestly never graces the buildings that she willed into existence — if she might be interested in funding the acquisition of a group of significant artworks to unveil in an exhibit that would accompany the festivities celebrating the grand opening of the new Modern. Mrs. Marion asked what amount would be required to make this happen. Auping replied, "Five million ought to do it." Mrs. Marion said, "I will provide you with $10 million." (She would go on to add another $2 million to that gift, to bring her philanthropy for acquisitions for the Ando building to $12 million in 2001.) Together the patron and the curator acquired several important works of art, which enhanced the wonderful fanfare when the reborn Modern unveiled in December 2002. Auping recalls a time in recent years when he and Mrs. Marion were walking together through the museum's galleries. She turned to him, and said, "Michael, I am so happy we acquired the works when we did. We could not have done this today." Read Dallas/Fort Worth contributing art editor Wade Wilson's personal remembrance of Mrs. Marion online at "Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion," through January 8, 2023, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, COURTESY HALSTON ARCHIVES (Continued from page 48) David Smith's Dida Becca Merry X, 1964, at The Modern, Fort Worth Above center: Two works in the collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth funded by Anne Marion's largesse: Mark Rothko's White Band No. 27, 1954; and Willem de Kooning's Two Women, 1954 – 1955. 50

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