Sotheby’s will offer the collection of the late gallerist and collector Ginny Williams in several sales beginning the 29 June, coinciding with the re-opening of its New York sale rooms that week. The collection of more than 450 works, which is estimated to sell for more than $50m, “will be the first time female artists will comprise over two-thirds of the value of the sale,” says Saara Pritchard, senior vice president and senior specialist in Sotheby’s contemporary art department.
Known for collecting the work of pioneering female artists, Williams amassed works by the series by artists like Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner and Agnes Martin. A dedicated evening sale that immediately precedes Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 29 June will include a number of works by Louise Bourgeois, who Williams collected in depth, including a bronze sculpture, Observer (1945-47), estimated to sell for between $1.5m and $2m, from the artist’s Personages series.
Other highlights of the collection include Joan Mitchell’s nine-foot-tall painting Straw (1976), estimated at $5m-$7m, and Lee Krasner’s Re-Echo (1957), which could sell for between $4m and $6m. A sale scheduled for 14 July will comprise more than 1,000 works by female photographers like Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott and Annie Leibovitz.
“While [works by female artists] are very ‘of the moment’ for collectors and the larger market, the shocking reality is that this has historically never happened,” Pritchard says. “It’s a testament to Ginny’s passion for supporting female artists and collecting many of them in depth. All further proof of how truly groundbreaking and ahead of her time she was.”