PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — Freeman’s Sunday, March 30, auction of the George D. Horst collection of fine art achieved $4.3 million in sales, more than tripling its original high estimate of $1.3 million.
The auction drew international interest as collectors from 47 countries registered for the sale and bidders packed Freeman’s Auctioneers third floor gallery an hour before the auction began — those without seats lined the perimeter of the room. Once the auction commenced, spirited bidding from the room, on the phones, and online sent prices soaring above estimates. New auction records were set for 18 artists, and the 63-lot auction had a 100 percent sell-through rate, making it a “white glove” sale.
“I am beyond thrilled with the results for this collection,” said vice chairman and auctioneer Alasdair Nichol. “When Freeman’s was appointed to sell the George D. Horst collection, I said it was an auctioneer’s perfect storm. The paintings had a fantastic provenance and were in excellent condition.
“Our marketing department then took the collection to the next level. From events and lectures in London, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia’s Main Line to producing high-quality videos, generating press, and reaching collectors via social media, the marketing for this sale went viral,” added Nichol.
The top lot of the auction was “Winter Sunlight” by Edward Willis Redfield, an oil on canvas that attained $710,500, followed by “Marshes of Long Point” by Frank Weston Benson that brought $662,500 and “Glen Cuttalossa” by Daniel Garber, which fetched $398,500.
Among the works setting auction records were “Copper and Porcelain,” oil on canvas, by Emil Carlsen, at $386,500; “Beyond” by Jonas Lie for $146,500; “Maine Cliffs in Sunlight” by Howard Russell Butler, an oil on canvas that realized $146,500, and “Joyous Island” by George Loftus Noyes, oil on canvas, at $122,500.
Standouts were plentiful in the sale, including the oils on canvas “The Norwegian Cottage” by Childe Hassam that brought $242,500; “Estuary with Sailboats and Lighthouses” by Eugène Louis Boudin for $170,500; “Garden Gate” by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, $122,500, and “Petite Fille à la Fontaine” by Léon Augustin Lhermitte, which attained $122,500.
The top three lots from the Horst sale were sold to private collectors across the United States. In addition to Butler, Lie and Noyes, notable auction records in this auction included “Figure of a Dancer” by Milly Steger, a bronze sculpture that fetched $70,150, the previous record was $11,833; and three oils on canvas, “The Mother” by Marie Danforth Page at $80,500; “River Landscape” by George Agnew Reid, $48,000; and “Winter Afternoon” by Frederick R. Wagner, $98,500.
Auction records were additionally achieved for: Louis Bertrand Ralston Keeler, Katherine Newbold Birdsall, George Matthew Bruestle, Mary Gray, Walter Hauschild, Paul Bernard King, Elizabeth Annie McGillvray Knowles, Mary McClellan, Susan Gertrude Schell and Caroline Everett Risque.
The collection had remained virtually unseen for almost a century, and the 63 paintings, many in their original frames, were amassed by Pennsylvania businessman George D. Horst from 1911 to 1929. Most works were purchased soon after their completion from galleries, fine art institutions and auction houses — including Freeman’s. Horst constructed his own private gallery in 1924 and continued to purchase art until the stock market crashed in 1929. The Horsts often used this single-room gallery for entertaining friends and sharing their impressive collection with guests.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.freemansauction.com or 215-563-9275.