Arts

Filled With Masterpieces by Van Gogh and Monet, This Texas Businessman’s Collection is the Greatest of Its Kind

Edwin Cox's Significant Impressionism Collection Makes History at Christie's Auction House This Week

BY Dani Grande // 11.09.21

Edwin Cox is not finished yet. Although the Dallas oil and gas baron passed away at the age of 99 last November, he continues to break records, amass fortunes, and serve as a mentor and loyal donor to his community. His professional success has always been bound to his reputation as a leader determined to improve lives through scholarship and entrepreneurship. The former WWII Navy lieutenant was a pioneer in the energy industry; a critical benefactor of Southern Methodist University, whose business school boasts his name and whose MBA Scholars Program he founded; a patron of the arts who sat on numerous boards and a philanthropist who worked with the American Red Cross and the Texas Cancer Society, among others.

It’s no surprise, then, that his latest endeavor — stemming from his prolific collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artworks — has created a frenzy.

This month, collectors will have the chance to bid on masterpieces by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Caillebotte, and more, many of which were on view in the Highland Park home that Cox bought with his late wife, Ann Rife Cox, in the ’70s. Christie’s Auction House brings the 25 artworks that make up The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism, to the international market (along with a separate online sale of decorative arts and furniture from the family’s estate) and estimates the event will realize $200 million.

the cox collection texas art christies auction
Edwin Cox’s Highland Park residence. (courtesy of Christie’s)

It’s an unexpected breakthrough. With most significant impressionist works long tied up in private collections or belonging to museums, a collection of this caliber has not gone up for auction in decades. Among the titular works is Gustave Caillebotte’s 1876 seminal masterpiece Jeune homme à sa fenêtre (expected to exceed $50 million); Vincent Van Gogh’s Cabanes de bois parmi less oliviers et cypress — completed during his turbulent stay at Saint-Rémy — is estimated to sell in the $40 million range; and Claude Monet’s Le bassin d’Argenteuil will likely see between $15 and $25 million.

In classic Cox fashion, a portion of the proceeds will go toward educational purposes. The auction takes place this Thursday, November 11, at Christie’s New York; the online sale runs November 9 through 19.

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