Published: May 22, 2015
O’Keeffe Leads At Sotheby’s
In a sale that was more steady than spectacular, Sotheby’s saw broad participation and sturdy results at its May 20 auction of American art. Top honors went to Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1927 oil “White Calla Lily,” which sold under estimate to an anonymous phone bidder for $8,986,000. Traditional landscape views by Martin Johnson Heade and Thomas Moran garnered $970,000 and $910,000, while midcentury works by Milton Avery fetched $3.37million for “Spring in Vermont” and $1.45 million for “Beach House.” It was another strong showing for illustrators, with Norman Rockwell’s “The Bookworm” going for $3.83 million and Maxfield Parrish’s “Two Cooks and a Haggis” reaping $1.57 million.
“White Calla Lily” by Georgia O’Keeffe, $8,986,000
“The Bookworm” by Norman Rockwell, $3,834,000
“Spring in Vermont” by Milton Avery, $3,370,000
1808 Coin Goes For Gold: $2.35 Million
Collectors spent $25.3 million to purchase all 128 coins on May 19 at the sale of the D. Brent Pogue collection, presented by auctioneers Stacks Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s in New York City. A small gold coin from 1808, called a Quarter Eagle and worth just $2.50 when it was minted, realized $2.35 million – a new world record for any coin of the quarter eagle denomination. It also became the most valuable Nineteenth Century US gold coin ever sold at auction. The inaugural “white-glove” auction proved that modern generation of collectors are willing to set new world records in order to own the best condition coins in existence, according to Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. A complete report of this sale will follow later.
Bidders Talk Up Benton’s ‘Discussion’ To Over $1 Million At Leslie Hindman
CHICAGO, ILL. — Property from the collection of Carol H. and Richard M. Levin of Kansas City, Mo., brought 33 important American paintings to Leslie Hindman Auctioneers for an evening sale May 20. Five works by Thomas Hart Benton were sold, including his 1967 work, “Discussion,” which attained $1,052,500, well over its $200/400,000 estimate.
With significant interest, phone bidders battled it out for the work, attempting to secure the quintessentially American scene of a laborer and union recruiter of the mid-Twentieth Century. Also available was a study for “Discussion,” which was reproduced in a 1937 issue of Life. It sold over high estimate at $11,250.
Two additional Benton studies sold well above high estimates: the 1951 study for “Flood Disaster (Homecoming – Kaw Valley)” drew $362,500 against its $120/180,000 estimate and the 1956 study for “Portrait of Carl Sandburg” brought $68,500.
Highlights from other American artists included John Steuart Curry’s 1946 self portrait, which fetched $62,500 and Charles Burchfield’s 1948 “Basswood Tree in Winter,” at $98,500.
Important American paintings also sold well in the May 20 day sale here. The hallmark of the sale was Ralston Crawford’s 1937 “Pennsylvania Barn,” which sold well above its high estimate, realizing $572,500. The modern painting has been in the collection of Brown Shoe Company, Inc. in St. Louis since 1971 and drew aggressive phone bidding. Another lot from the day sale that experienced enthusiastic bidding was Charles Courtney Curran’s 1891 “Peach Blossoms.” The painting quickly surpassed its high estimate and brought $104,500.
For information, 312-280-1212 or www.lesliehindman.com.
Stand Up Results For Warshawsky’s ‘Bookworm’ & Tiffany Floor Lamp
The landmark offering of Tiffany and prewar design from the Warshawsky Collection posted an $8 million total at Sotheby’s New York, led by an “Oriental Poppy” floor lamp that sold for $1. 1 million on May 19 and Norman Rockwell’s “The Bookworm,” which fetched $3.8 million in the May 20 American art auction. The Tiffany floor lamp, circa 1910, with a “Chased Pod” senior floor base and “Pig Tail” finial, posted an auction record for the model. With the shade impressed “Tiffany Studios New York 1902” and the base impressed “Tiffany Studios/New York/379,” the leaded glass and patinated bronze lamp stands 777/8 inches high with a 26-inch diameter shade.
Rockwell’s 1926 “Man With Nose In Book (The Bookworm)” beat its $1.5/2.5 million presale estimate to bring $3,834,000.
The Warshawsky collection, formed by noted Chicago businessman Roy Warshawsky and his wife Sarita, from the 1960s through the 1990s, was highlighted by an encyclopedic selection of Tiffany Studios works spanning every artistic discipline of the famed firm: leaded glass lighting and windows, Favrile glass, enamels, pottery, bronze “fancy” goods and more. A complete report on the sale will follow.
Enamel Cranes Fly To $194,291
DONNINGTON PRIORY, U.K. – Cranes proved their auspicious powers in a Chinese ceramics and Asian works of art auction at Dreweatts Donnington Priory, when a pair of cloisonné enamel double crane censers flew beyond estimate, selling for $194,291 to a bidder on the phone. A Warring States-Western Han style, bronze model of a tiger also made $101,031.
As birds with a long life span, cranes are associated with longevity, immortality and wisdom in Chinese tradition, particularly following the rise of Daoism from the Han dynasty. They are an important component of the Chinese decorative system which is based on the use of images whose auspicious symbolism is conveyed by their intrinsic qualities and the homophonic nature of the Chinese language.
For more information, www.dreweatts.com or +44 20 7495 9494.
This Guitar Gently Reaps: $490,000 For George Harrison-Used Electric
The George Harrison played 1963 Mastersound electric guitar sold for $490,000 at Julien’s auction in New York City on May 15. Offered during a two-day rock memorabilia auction, the guitar was used by Harrison in the summer of 1963 when he had it on loan from Barratt’s Music Store, a business in England.
According to Beatles author Andy Babiuk, Harrison’s Country Gent was experiencing problems and it was brought to Barratt’s in Manchester to be repaired. The Mastersound was given to Neil Aspinall for Harrison to use while repairs were made. The Country Gent was returned the same day, but Harrison retained the Mastersound and played it in concert at Margate (July 8 to 13), in Liverpool (August 2), at a photocall at the Cavern (August 3) and when the Beatles played Guernsey, Channel Island (August 6-10). The Australian solid-body guitar has a flame maple natural finish top, dark sides, a sunburst back, mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays. It is fitted with a Bigsby vibrato and Bigsby bridge.
A complete review of this sale will appear later.
Onderdonk Painting Brings $240,000 At Fairfield Auction
MONROE, CONN. — Julian Onderdonk’s oil on canvas “Morning Sunlight” well went over its $80/120,000 estimate on Sunday, May 17, at Fairfield Auction.
Coming out of a Fairfield, Conn., estate, the 1919 painting depicting milkweeds and oaks near Leon Springs, Texas, crossed the block about an hour into the sale.
Onderdonk returned to his native Texas, after studying with William Merritt Chase in New York, in 1909 and painted this work ten years later, about three years before he died.
A complete report on this auction will appear in an upcoming edition.
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