Published: August 5, 2008
A small and select Martin Johnson Heade painting that had first been appraised by Robert Eldred during an appraisal clinic conducted at the gallery back in February sold for more than a million dollars at Eldred’s three-day Americana, paintings and sporting art at auction on August 1.
Titled “Haying on the Marsh,” the 7½-by-141/8-inch oil on panel had descended in the family of the original owner and was signed “M.J. Heade ’67” in the lower left corner. The painting was unusual in its depiction of workers hurrying to move the salt hay before the sunset, which was dramatically portrayed by the artist with a brilliant sky in reds, pinks and yellows.
Estimated at $300/500,000, the painting opened for bidding at the low estimate and took off with three people in the crowd hammering away at the lot. At $600,000 a phone bidder jumped in, only to be replaced shortly thereafter by another phone bidder and finally a third phone bidder who competed to the end with a client standing up front and on the side of the audience.
The client in the crowd was not to be outdone and placed the final bid of $950,000 on the painting, bringing the hammer price to $1,060,000 after premium and making it the single most expensive lot ever sold by the auction house.
A complete review of the auction will appear in a future issue. ⁄SS
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