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Christie’s to offer the collection of fine art patrons Thomas and Doris Ammann

Over 100 masterworks from Warhol, Twombly, Ryman, Sturtevant, Clemente and others are a part of the auction

April 22, 2022: Thomas and Doris Ammann, a brother-sister duo that respected art for its beauty rather than its value, were a legendary pair. A part of their private collection is now soon to be auctioned by Christie’s this May in New York City. Works from the collection will be sold across two live sales at Rockefeller Plaza during the Spring Marquee Week, beginning with a single-owner evening sale on May 9, 2022.

Doris Ammann   Thomas Ammann

L to R: Doris Ammann at Pestana Palace, Lisboa | Thomas Ammann with a Vincent Van Gogh

With a curated selection of 36 masterworks by leading 20th century artists including Robert Ryman, Francesco Clemente, Sturtevant, and Cy Twombly, the evening sale is led by Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn – a painting poised to be the most expensive 20th century work to sell at auction. An additional group of works from the phenomenal private collection will be sold in a dedicated Day sale, taking place during the Spring Marquee Week in succession with the Post-War and Contemporary Day Sale. 

The selection of just over 100 works across both sales exemplifies the Ammanns’ superior aesthetic, conveying a myriad of deeply personal stories throughout 20th century art. To maintain clear lines between what they did as dealers and what they did as collectors, as Thomas explained, “you can't collect what you want to sell — because then either you sell all the good things, which is no fun; or you keep all the good things, which bankrupts you.” Thomas devoted every free minute of his time to visiting galleries and artists' studios. As he put it in 1988, "What interests me about collecting is seeing what's happening today. I buy young people, and I buy them very early. I don't buy what I hear about, I buy what I see myself.”

Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol

Thomas and Doris Ammann were devoted friends of the artists they collected, championing them for the entirety of their careers. When asked by Vanity Fair about his friendship with Thomas Ammann, Francesco Clemente refused to speak on it, calling the relationship “too personal, too sacred” for him to discuss publicly. 

The Ammanns were indisputably leaders in the art world and market makers for a generation of talented artists—many of whom have gone on to become household names. A number of works on offer come from the walls of the Ammann landmark home, a Bauhaus masterpiece with breathtaking views of Lake Zurich in addition to their other residences. 

Cy Twombly

A Cy Twombly part of the Christie's auction

Siblings Doris and Thomas were cofounders of Thomas Ammann Fine Art. Throughout their lives, the pair endlessly supported creative practices, shepherding artistic endeavors with singular passion. In 1977, the same year he founded his gallery, Thomas Ammann first envisioned the realization of a comprehensive Andy Warhol catalogue raisonné. Brilliantly coedited by Georg Frei, this was a pursuit Thomas worked toward until the end of his life. It was brought to fruition a decade later in partnership between Thomas Ammann Fine Art and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

After her brother’s passing in 1993, Doris continued to run Thomas Ammann Fine Art with grace and humility for the remainder of her life, exerting clear talent in her ability to identify great art.

Andy Warhol Flowers

Flowers by Andy Warhol

Georg Frei, Chairman of the Board, Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation, remarks: “Working with people as wonderful as Doris and Thomas over so many years has been an incredible gift. Transforming their astonishing legacy into charitable work fills me with courage, and gives me hope that together we can create a better world for many, many suffering and unprivileged children."