The 450 works of the collection are estimated to achieve over $50 million, with a selection of highlights hitting the auction in a single-owner sale that will precede Sotheby’s marquee Contemporary Art Evening Auction on June 29.
This dedicated auction will draw attention to Williams’ passion for collecting Abstract Expressionist and Contemporary art, with a particular focus on pieces by trailblazing female artists like Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Alice Neel and Louise Bourgeois.
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Today we announced that we will present 450+ works from the collection of Ginny Williams across a series of auctions beginning this June in New York. Williams’s collecting journey began with classical figurative photography, which led her to open the Ginny Williams Gallery in Denver in the 1980s. She later developed a passion for collecting Abstract Expressionist and Contemporary art, with a particular focus on the work of pioneering female modernists such as Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Alice Neel, and Louise Bourgeois, whose career she impacted as both patron and friend. By the time of her passing in 2019, Williams had assembled the largest collection of works by Bourgeois in private hands, set the auction record for Helen Frankenthaler, and amassed an extensive collection in which the majority of works are by women artists. Pictured here: Joan Mitchell’s ‘Straw’ from 1976, which will highlight a dedicated evening sale of works from Williams’s collection this June. #SothebysContemporary #SothebysPhotographs
Among them are Lee Krasner’s “Re-Echo,” which is estimated to fetch between $4 million and $6 million; as well as Helen Frankenthaler’s “Royal Fireworks,” which is expected to realize up to $3 million.
Also on offer is Joan Mitchell’s monumental “Straw,” which is estimated to sell for between $5 million to $7 million.
This pre-sale estimate is far from Mitchell’s record price of $16.6 million for “Blueberry,” although the 1969 painting was originally expected to realize up to $7 million when it hit the auction block at Christie’s New York in November 2018.
A bronze sculpture from Louise Bourgeois’ “Personages” series, entitled “Observer,” will also be featured in Sotheby’s dedicated sale, where it is estimated to go under the hammer for between $1.5 million and $2 million.
Aside from being a close friend to the French-American artists, Williams had assembled the largest collection of works by Bourgeois in private hands by the time of her passing in 2019.
A group of 13 works on paper and sculpture by Bourgeois will notably be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction, which is scheduled to be held during the week of June 29.
The auction will feature works by women artists working across a number of mediums and techniques, including photographs by Diane Arbus, Louise Lawler and Barbara Kruger.
Meanwhile, Sotheby’s will present on July 14 a curated selection of approximately 100 photographs from Williams’ collection, which comprised more than 1,000 photographs by the time of her passing.
“Ginny was a collector that stood apart from others — she understood artists, and lived and breathed their work into her collection and her life. She was among the last of a rarefied tribe of old school collectors and dealers, a true artist at heart,” Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, said in a statement.