Published: May 27, 2003
John Sloan’s ‘Easter Eve’ Is Top Lot at Sotheby’s
NEW YORK CITY – American works from the Collection of Meyer & Vivian Potamkin sold for a total of $15,342,700 at Sotheby’s, more than $2 million above the high estimate. Overall, the May 21 sale, including works from various owners, brought a total of $31,909,100.
“Easter Eve,” a nighttime New York scene by John Sloan, was the top lot at $3,032,000, setting a record for the artist at auction. The top lot of the Potamkin Collection was Theodore Robinson’s “Boats at a Landing,” which soared past the $600,000 high estimate to bring $2,136,000, nearly doubling the previous record for the artist at auction. Auction records were also set for Robert Henri, Jacob Lawrence, Marguerite Zorach, Arthur Carles and John Flannagan.
“Boats at a Landing” is one of a series Robinson created while at Cos Cob, Conn.; it was purchased by the Potamkins for just $900 in 1952. “Easter Eve” is a New York City scene from 1907 that was first exhibited in the landmark exhibition of Robert Henri and his colleagues at the Macbeth Gallery in New York.
Other highlights included Maurice Prendergast’s “Handkerchief Point,” a highly patterned watercolor from 1896, which sold for $988,000, and “Luxembourg Gardens,” an oil on panel painted by the artist in 1907, brought $400,000, doubling the low estimate.
Edward Hopper’s “House on Hill Top (House on the Dune, South Truro),” a watercolor on paper executed circa 1930-32 that beautifully illustrates the barren yet beautiful character of the outer Cape Cod landscape, sold for $596,000; and Robert Henri’s stirring portrait of “Berna Escudero” painted in 1922 soared, past the $175,000 high estimate to sell for $478,400, setting a record for the artist at auction.
Marsden Hartley’s “Composition,” a colorful abstraction from 1913, sold for $411,200, and “Sail Movement,” a semiabstract painting inspired by marine elements, brought $355,200. Additionally, Joseph Stella’s industrial “Telegraph Pole,” a gouache and ink on paper from 1917, sparked furious bidding, finally selling for $400,000 to a bidder in the room, doubling the high estimate.
American paintings, drawings and sculpture from various owners were sold in the afternoon session. Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Red Hills with Pedernal, White Clouds” from 1936 brought $1,352,000 ($1/1.5 million) and a charming earlier work, “Little Barn,” brought $848,000, well exceeding the $500,000 high estimate.
Also achieving a strong price was Winslow Homer’s idyllic watercolor and gouache, “Fishing,” which sold for $1,128,000, nearly double the $600,000 high estimate.
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