John L. Marion

John L. Marion is an American auctioneer and philanthropist. He served as the Chairman of Sotheby's (NYSEBID) from 1975 to 1994.

John L. Marion
EducationFordham University
Columbia University
OccupationAuctioneer, philanthropist
Spouse(s)Anne Windfohr Marion
Parent(s)Louis J. Marion

Early lifeEdit

John L. Marion was born in Gardiner, New York.[1] His father, Louis J. Marion, was the President of Parke-Bernet Galleries.[1] He graduated from Fordham University in New York City in 1956.[1][2] He then served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy.[1] He went on to study the decorative arts at Columbia University.[1]


He started his career as an auctioneer at Sotheby's in 1960.[2] He became president in 1972 and Chairman in 1975.[1][3] During the course of his career, he oversaw the sale of Irises by Vincent van Gogh for US$53.9 million, Yo Picasso for US$47.9 million and Au Lapin Agile for US$40.7 million (both of which by Pablo Picasso), as well as Interchange by Willem de Kooning for US$20.7 million, and False Start for US$17 million and Two Flags US$12.1 million (both of which are by Jasper Johns).[4][5]

In 1989, with Christopher Andersen, he co-wrote, The Best of Everything: The Insider's Guide to Collecting--For Every Taste and Every Budget, published by Simon & Schuster.[6] The book suggests anyone can attend auctions and become a collector, even on a limited budget.[4][5]

He retired in 1994.[2] He still serves on its Advisory Board.[7][8]


The John L. Marion Chair in Art History, Painting, and Sculpture at Fordham University is named in his honor. It was endowed by the Burnett Foundation, where he serves on the Board of Trustees.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

He is the fourth and current husband of philanthropist Anne Windfohr Marion.[1][3] They got married at the Church of the Heavenly Rest on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City, in 1988.[1] The ceremony was performed by Reverend C. Hugh Hildesley.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anne Windfohr Wed to John L. Marion, The New York Times, March 27, 1988
  2. ^ a b c d "John L. Marion Chair in Art History, Painting, and Sculpture at Fordham University" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  3. ^ a b Katya Kazakina, Rothko ‘No. 1’ Sells for $75 Million at Sotheby’s in NYC Archived 2013-06-02 at the Wayback Machine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, November 13, 2012
  4. ^ a b Cheryl Lavin, As chairman of Sotheby's auction house, John L. Marion has..., The Chicago Tribune, January 7, 1990
  5. ^ a b Suzanne Muchnic, Sotheby's Marion: Any Number Can Play the Auction Game, The Los Angeles Times, November 23, 1989
  6. ^ Marion, J.L.; Andersen, C.P. (1989). The best of everything: the insider's guide to collecting--for every taste and every budget. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780671667832. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  7. ^ "John L. Marion: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  8. ^ "Sotheby's - Board of Directors". Archived from the original on 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2015-02-11.