Ann and Gordon Getty’s personal collection to be auctioned off to benefit arts and science organizations
The collection of art, furniture and artifacts collected by interior designer Ann Getty and her billionaire husband, composer Gordon Getty, during their 56-year marriage is now set to be auctioned , as the couple had planned for a long time. Profits will go to Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for distribution to arts and science organizations.
Christie’s, the auction house, is managing the auction of some 1,500 lots owned by the Gettys and displayed in their ornately decorated Pacific Heights mansion. The auction comes a year and a half after the death of Ann Getty, who died suddenly of a heart attack in September 2020, at the age of 79.
Gordon Getty, 88, tells the Chronicle in a statement, “It was our shared vision that we sell this collection and dedicate the proceeds to the California arts and cultural institutions that she and I have long supported.”
Getty said the collection is “truly a tribute to Ann’s unparalleled taste and style and the family home she has created for us in San Francisco.”
The collection is initially valued at more than $180 million and appears to be a wholesale drain of the Getty Mansion on Broadway in Pacific Heights – there are some pics here of Ann in the house several years ago, and discussing with Veranda magazine his love for chinoiserie and “Asian aesthetics, especially the eccentric style interpreted by and for Europeans”.
The house was the site of granddaughter Ivy Getty’s wedding reception last fall, which may have been the last major event to take place there before the art and furnishings were removed.
As Jonathan Rendell, Vice President and Senior Advisor to Christie’s Americas, describes the house’s design to the Chronicle, it “reflects perhaps a large London townhouse circa 1905. These are the conversational groupings (of art) , it’s the use of color, it’s the use of period textiles…. It’s the way in which the colors of the paintings and the colors of the textiles come together very subtly so that the whole thing becomes a work of art. (Ann Getty had her own interior design business in the 1970s and 80s, and she specialized in this kind of layered, historic look.)
Lots in the auction include a pastel, seen below, by pioneering American artist trained in France Mary Cassatt, hanging in Ann Getty’s bedroom. Cassatt’s works have sold at auction for up to $6 million in recent years. And there’s a Matisse painting of chrysanthemums that will probably cost as much.
Christie is plan a series of four sales in New York of the collection, between October 20 and 23.
As the Chronicle notes, recipients of auction proceeds are expected to include the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of San Francisco, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Center for Berkeley Geochronology and the Leakey Foundation.