Ames Collection Highlights Autumn Auctions

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced The Triumph of Painting: The Steven and Ann Ames Collection, the landmark sale of the New York autumn 2016 auction season.

The collection, which stands as a peerless survey of art produced in this generation, was assembled by Steven and Ann Ames, New York patrons of the arts, philanthropists and collectors.

The Triumph of Painting will be offered in dedicated sequences within Sotheby’s sales of Contemporary Art on 17 & 18 November. Collectors and art enthusiasts around the world will be able to view highlights in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and London through September and October, prior to the full exhibition in New York. Overall, the collection is estimated to fetch in excess of $100 million.

Amy Cappellazzo, Chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, said: “Steven and Ann Ames collected with the same meticulous approach they applied to all of their many and varied passions. The result is a group of paintings that stands as a testament to the possibilities of the medium that is at once intellectually rigorous and visually stunning.”

Grégoire Billault, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York, commented:

“Following our lauded Contemporary Art sales in May and June, we are thrilled to present the seminal Ames Collection this November. Combining major works by longstanding auction favorites such as Richter and de Kooning, alongside important pieces by the likes of Robert Ryman, whose auction success is more recent, The Triumph of Painting is set to be the landmark offering of the New York sale season.”

Steven and Ann Ames

Steven Ames’s artistic education began as a child. His maternal aunts and uncles, including Walter Annenberg, Lita Annenberg Hazen, Joe Hazen and Enid Annenberg Haupt – all leaders and major philanthropists in the 20th century collecting community – instilled in him a passion for arts.

Following his graduation from Cornell University and during his years at Oppenheimer & Co. and the New York Stock Exchange, he and Anne cultivated the familial legacy with great enthusiasm.

As their collection and adoration for art grew, Steven returned to Columbia University to pursue a Master’s Degree in Art History. This newfound knowledge fueled the Ames’s passion, particularly for Contemporary art, stimulating their commitment and engagement with institutional stalwarts such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Israel Museum and the National Gallery.

The Triumph of Painting

Steven and Ann Ames’s immeasurable curiosity and profound admiration for Contemporary art is reflected in The Triumph of Painting, which tells the story of painting over the past 50 years. Masterpieces by Robert Ryman, Georg Baselitz, Willem de Kooning, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Philip Guston and others, both on their own and in conversation, emphasize the unquestionably important context and inspiration of each individual work. The Triumph of Painting: The Steven and Ann Ames Collection presents an international dialogue, free of geographical or artistic boundaries; it is a true fête of painting in the second half of the 20th century, celebrating the contributions of artists from the United States, Europe and beyond.

At the core of the collection are outstanding works by two giants of 20th-century painting: Gerhard Richter and Willem de Kooning.

Richter was one of the first painters to spark the couple’s interest after they fell in love with his work in the 1980s; indeed Steven wrote his thesis on the artist to earn his Master’s degree in Art History at Columbia University.

The Evening Auction on 17 November will include Richter canvases from every major period of his career covering his full exploration of the medium – abstract, landscape, portraiture, conceptual and more. Robert Ryman and others then entered the collection before the Ames’s sought out paintings by Willem de Kooning, seeking to connect the legacies of these different artists and bridge the stylistic gaps between them.

Photo above: Gerhard Richter, A.B., Still, 1986. Oil on canvas. Estimate $20/30 million.