Published: May 24, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Hindman
CHICAGO – Hindman’s recent slate of three sales of fine art – American & European, Post War & Contemporary and Prints & Multiples, conducted May 10, 11 and 12, respectively, yielded the highest total achieved by any previous Fine Art Week the company has ever seen: $9.996 million. Of that total, American and European art saw enough interest to finish at $3,519,313 with an additional $256,968 from an online-only sale the same day of about 150 works of American and European paintings, drawings and sculpture.
Joseph Stanfield, Hindman’s vice president for fine art, was exhausted but elated when we got him on the phone after the sale.
“It was crazy. We didn’t see any signs of a looming market correction. There was aggressive bidding across the globe, from absentee bidders as well as those online, on the phone and in the room. It was one of the first sales [in a long time] where we had aggressive bidding in the room.” Stanfield said the sale more than surpassed expectations and was 85 percent sold by lot.
Leading the sale at $524,000 was Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s (French, 1841-1919) “La Baie de Villefranche-sur-Mer,” a glimmering sun-splashed oil on canvas from 1899 that had been exhibited in both Paris and Dresden in 1902 and had extensive history of ownership, including most recently the Alexandria, Va., collection of Richard D. Simmons. There was stiff international competition on it and it was purchased by a collector in Europe.
The Simmons collection also proffered three other paintings, two of which achieved high enough prices to land in the sale’s top ten results. William Merrit Chase’s (American, 1849-1916) “A Road to the Sea (Shinnecock Bay)” found a new home with an American buyer, for $175,000, while “La Seine á Saint-Mammès” by Alfred Sisley (French, 1839-1899) saw interest to $87,500 from a global collector. On the more modest end, the last work from the Simmons collection was “Wind and Surf” by Harrison Bird Brown, which sold within estimate, for $2,500.
Earning the sale’s second highest ranking was “Landschaft mit Jäger (Landscape with a Hunter)” by Austrian artist Franz Sedlacek (1891-1944). It was the first time Stanfield had ever handled the artist’s work. The painting attracted exclusively international interest and blew away its $60/80,000 estimate, selling to a collector in Europe for $250,000.
One of Robert Henri’s iconic Ashcan School portraits finished out the leaderboard, bringing $250,000 and selling within estimate. Dated 1928 and from a Los Angeles collection, “Girl in a Red Dress” was an oil on canvas that measured 28 by 20 inches.
The market for American paintings seems, in Stanfield’s opinion, to be leaning towards more modern and contemporary works, including by artists such as Wolf Kahn, who was represented in the sale by eight works, from three separate sellers. Leading the group at $112,500 was “Against a Dark Blue Sky II,” from 1998, a vibrant work that generated enough interest so that it had more than six phone bidders during the sale.
“When I put eight paintings [by Kahn] in the sale, I wondered if maybe that was too much, but the sale could not have gone any better and bidders responded with fervor,” Stanfield said.
The sale offered three works by French/Vietnamese artist Le Pho (1907-2001); all were sold by different sellers and two were purchased by buyers in Asia, with the third one – “Les Dahlias Blanches” selling for $118,500 to a buyer in the United States.
Stanfield was pleasantly surprised with the result for Marguerite Thompson Zorach’s “Baby Girl (The Awakening),” which had received little interest prior to the sale but ended up closing at $46,875, more than three times its low estimate and selling to a buyer in the United States.
Hindman’s next auction of American and European Art is scheduled for September 27.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.hindmanauctions.com or 312-280-1212.
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