Published: February 20, 2007
Before a standing-room-only crowd filling the gallery at Winter Associates, Inc on January 15, an oil on canvas by David Johnson (American, 1827–1908) brought a record $448,000. Bidding throughout the sale was healthy, with dealers and private individuals vying for the estate and museum merchandise offered.
As the Johnson painting was offered, the audience became hushed as it witnessed the bidding quickly escalate. The painting, a 24-by-20-inch oil by the Hudson River School artist, was the topic of much discussion even before the sale began.
People from as far away as Virginia came to view and/or bid on the painting in person. The painting, conservatively estimated to bring $70/100,000, opened to an absentee bid after which the bidding progressed in spirited competition between phone and floor bidders before selling to a private individual from Pennsylvania bidding via telephone, the price apparently setting a record for the artist’s work at auction.
The subject of the painting, the Natural Bridge in Virginia, part of the land once owned by Thomas Jefferson, was of particular interest to many of the bidders. The painting came from a local household and had been in the possession of the consignor’s family for several generations.
Just ten lots later, another item took the saleroom by surprise as it sailed past its modest $4/8,000 estimate. The lot, a Nineteenth Century Federal bottle case on stand from the Southern United States was consigned by a local gentleman.
As the sale date approached, eight telephone bidders and several absentee bidders prepared to compete for the piece. As expected, it attracted bidders from the south including North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. In the end however, the piece sold to a Connecticut dealer who attended the sale in person for $28,000.
Prices reported include the 12 percent buyer’s premium. For information, www.AuctionsAppraisers.com or 860-793-0288.
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