Published: August 8, 2000
Rockwell Painting Brings $178,500
PORTLAND, ME – A painting by Norman Rockwell sold for $178,500 at Barridoff Galleries’ August 2 auction of American and European art at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. Following two preview sessions, 232 lots crossed the block for a gross of over $2.5 million, with 210 paddles issued.
The Rockwell work, entitled “Pioneer of the Air,” was consigned by a Maine family who had owned it since the 1930s. Rob Elowitch of the gallery described the painting as “small” and estimated it would bring $30/50,000 because of its dimensions. “It was meant to be a tribute to Charles Lindbergh, but not a portrait of him – [the actual subject] is much to good looking,” he told us. The work was created two months after Lindbergh’s historic flight to Paris.
“I believe the price is a record for the size,” Elowitch continued. “It’s Lindbergh connected, fresh to the market, and was on the cover of the [July 23, 1927] Saturday Evening Post, and that’s why it brought so much money.” A New York dealer made the winning bid on the phone; the underbidder, a Maine collector, competed from the audience.
“I got it just five days before sale,” said Elowitch, “and I sent emails to every dealer I knew online. It worked – there was heavy bidding across the board for that painting.”
Starring with the highest bid of $305,000, however, was an oil on canvas by N.C. Wyeth with dimensions of 40″ by 30″. The painting was an illustration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s book The Courtship of Miles Standish, published by Houghton Mifflin.
A Louis Comfort Tiffany oil on canvas brought $63,000, well past its estimate of $9/12,000. The work depicted a waterfall in a rocky woodland.
An 18″ by 39″ Britcher oil on canvas, which was estimated at $50/75,000 did $96,000; an Edwin Lord Weeks, “Sheik of the Caravan at Prayer,” an oil on canvas measuring 24″ by 36″, estimated at $75/125,000, sailed past that high to bring $140,00; and an S. S. Carr, estimated at $20/30,000, did $70,700 for the 10″ by 16″ beach scene.
A Leon Kroll still life at a New York City studio window, 45″ by 25″, estimated at $40/60,000, achieved $72,000; a Guillaume Seignac oil on canvas, the Neo-classical oil on canvas entitled “Meditation,” measuring 40″ by 28″, estimated at $30/50,000 made $70,700; a William Henry Buck 5″ by 12″ canvas of boys fishing on the Bayou, estimated at $9/12,000, realized $19,550; and a second Buck of a schooner at sunset, 16 2/3″ by 33″, estimated at $15/25,000, went out at $25,300.
“Winter’s End,” a 29″ by 42″ oil on canvas by Stephen Etnier, estimated at $6/9,000, did $40,250; an Andrew Wyeth, “Shed Roofs,” a 14″ by 21″ watercolor estimated at $60/90,000, reached $90,500; “Elat,” a 20″ by 29″ by Ludwig Blum, sold at 9,900 for the landscape; a James Webb oil on canvas, “Thunder Cloud,” the 26″ by 51″ painting estimated at $20/30,000, was purchased at $32,200; and a Thomas Moran, “Moonlight Fantasy,” a 15 ½” by 20 ¼” oil on canvas estimated at $15,/25,000, depicting Venetian gondolas and an English castle, brought $44,000.
A Rockwell Kent maritime scene, “Ocean Sky,” the 6″ by 7″ lot estimated at $6/9,000, escalated to $32,200 for the small oil on canvas.
Prices quoted above reflect buyers premium. Barridoff requires a 15 percent premium on hammer prices up to $50,000, and 10 percent thereafter.
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