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Anne Marion, Fort Worth Philanthropist And Modern Art Museum Backer, Has Died

by Bill Zeeble 13 Feb 2020 2:08 PM

Longtime Fort Worth philanthropist Anne Marion has died.

Anne Marion backed the construction and design of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2002. Photo: Shutterstock.

Longtime Fort Worth philanthropist Anne Marion has died.

The dedicated arts patron may be best known in North Texas for backing the construction and design of a new building in 2002 for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

She also founded the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Marion died Tuesday in California. She was 81.

Andrea Karnes, senior curator of the Fort Worth Modern, credits Marion for her balanced vision through the decades. She said from an early age, Marion was moved by paintings her family owned – including some by Georgia O’Keefe – and loved art her whole life.

“Also (she) had an impeccable eye, and was a collector herself,” she said. “All of those things translated into her really sort of being the mother of this institution and our strongest benefactor.”

Above is a video of architect Tadao Ando touring the new 2002 building he designed for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which Marion backed. 

Marion was the great-granddaughter of rancher Samuel Burk Burnett and the daughter of Anne Burnett Tandy. The family oil and ranching wealth helped fund the Burnett foundation, which has given millions of dollars toward the arts.

In 1997, Marion and her husband founded the O’Keefe Museum. Marion chaired its board until 2016. In a statement to the Associated Press, O’Keefe Museum curator Cody Hartley called Marion a “passionate arts patron, determined leader, and generous philanthropist.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the city “has lost a true champion of the arts and community.” Price also said Marion had an incredible passion for her community, a love for western heritage, and that “her passion will live on.”

“She really had a passion for the city and a passion for the arts but Anne also grew up in the ranch industry and also has a strong passion and history for our western heritage and she’ll be missed,” Price told KERA.