After revealing plans last month to sell Thomas and Doris Ammann’s prized Andy Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe for a potentially record-breaking $200 million, Christie’s said on Wednesday that it would sell the late dealers’ remaining collection of nearly 100 works this May.
Thomas and Doris Ammann, who died in 1993 and 2021, respectively, founded the famed Swiss gallery Thomas Ammann Fine Art in 1977. Thomas Ammann Fine Art was known for introducing American artists active in the postwar era to European collectors. Many of those artists, including Warhol, were already famous in the U.S., but it was through the help of the Ammanns that they found a wider following among high-profile collectors across the Atlantic.
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Because they established deep connections with many of the artists they worked with, the Ammanns were able to acquire major works by the likes of Robert Ryman, Cy Twombly, and Brice Marden.
“Gallerists have historically proven to make the best collectors,” said Alex Rotter, Christie’s New York chairman, in a statement, adding that the collection the brother-sister dealing duo amassed beginning in the 1970s represents the “weight of history.”
Thirty-six works from the Ammanns’ collection will be sold during a single-owner evening sale in New York on May 9. The lots will head to auction during the house’s marquee 20th- and 21st-century art sales in New York.
Warhol’s Shot Blue Sage Marilyn (1964), which is coming to auction without a financial guarantee, will hit the block during an evening sale dedicated to 20th-century art on March 12. Proceeds from the sale of the Warhol will benefit the Ammanns’ Zurich-based foundation, which distributes funds to causes related to education and health care for children.
Sixty other works belonging to the Ammanns are slated to be sold in a sale that has not yet been scheduled. The sale proceeds be put towards the foundation’s charitable causes.
Among the artists in the first tranche of works are ones by Francesco Clemente, Martin Kippenberger, Mike Bidlo, and Sturtevant.
Highlights from the group include Twombly’s flesh-toned abstraction Venere Sopra Gaeta (1988), which is expected to fetch $10 million to $15 million, and Warhol’s 1964 silkscreen painting Flowers, featuring four white hibiscus blossoms on a green ground, which is expected to bring in $15 million–$20 million.