Published: August 29, 2006
Freeman’s diversification in the art market was demonstrated recently with buyers of Modern and Contemporary works driving the top three results. Wayne Thiebaud’s “Antique Coin Machine” led the way at $196,000, nearly four times its high estimate. Sales totals reached more than $2.5 million with 85 percent of the 183 lots sold.
The thriving Indian economy helped lead to a surge in interest for the work of Francis Newton Souza. Bidders from around the world — including several from India — vied for the three works by Souza in the sale, especially “Head of an Old Man,” estimated at $30/50,000. A buyer on the phone from London prevailed over the competition, at $173,625.
A work by American Modernist John Marin, who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, sold to a private New England collector for $162,425, greatly exceeding the results for several similar Marin watercolors offered in recent New York sales.
Local private collectors triumphed on many works in the sale, including an atypical Edward Redfield ocean scene titled, “The Lobsterman.” Selling for $117,625, the painting led results for Pennsylvania Impressionists in the sale. Strong bidding from private Pennsylvania buyers brought more top results for works by Fern Coppedge, “Village in Winter,” which sold for $71,700; Arthur Meltzer, “Leaning Silo,” $59,750; and Elizabeth Washington, whose “Along the Wissahickon” was sold to benefit Philadelphia’s Springside School.
“The local private market is extensive and very sophisticated. Area residents have come to realize that they no longer need to travel to New York to find great pieces for their collections,” said Alasdair Nichol, Freeman’s senior vice president and head of the paintings department. “Successful bidders came to us from England, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and across the country, but the real driving force behind our recent growth has been local collectors.”
Freeman’s main gallery was packed with a standing-room-only crowd and more than two dozen phone bidders, many of whom were helping European bidders in the sale’s opening section. A London bidder was successful on “The Willing Captive” by the British artist William Clarke Wontner, at more than triple the high estimate, selling for $106,425, while a bidder from Madrid prevailed on “An Excellent Vintage” by Aranda for $38,850.
The sale’s American section had many highlights, including “Study of PD, August, 1914,” an oil on canvas by Stuart Davis that sold for $106,425 against a $25/40,000 estimate. Other top prices included Ernest Lawson’s “Twilight in Winter, Moret-sur-Long,” sold for $77,765; Guy Pene du Bois’ “Dramatic Moment,” $83,650; and a Grandma Moses work that came through Freeman’s South in Charlottesville, Va, “The Blue Sledge,” sold for $41,825.
Also taking place over the weekend was a sale of fine jewelry, on Saturday. Material from local estates helped attract hundreds of bidders to the sale, which totaled more than $700,000. Top lots included a diamond and platinum necklace with 66 round diamonds (the largest, approximately 2.3 carats). Estimated at $24/26,000, the necklace sold to a Colorado phone bidder for $54,970. A 14K yellow gold and diamond solitaire ring with a round diamond weighing approximately 6.95 carats fetched $53,775, while a diamond and platinum engagement right with a 3.2 carat round diamond flanked by six baguette diamonds reached $38,837.
Freeman’s next fine art sale will be the company’s first auction dedicated solely to Modern and Contemporary Works of Art on November 5, followed by the sale of Fine American & European Paintings & Sculpture, including the seventh annual sale of works by Artists of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, on December 5. Interested consignors may contact Alasdair Nichol at 215-563-9275, extension 3011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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