Published: May 20, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — The top lot at Bonhams American art sale on May 18 was William McGregor Paxton’s (1869-1941) pensive oil on canvas titled “The Yellow Jacket,” which brought $413,000. The artist is best known for his idealized portraits of women in romantic interiors, and this 27 ¼-by-22¼-inch example was a prime example of this genre. Undoubtedly influenced by his the artist’s French education and the oeuvre of Johannes Vermeer, whose compositional ambiguity Paxton would later admit to admiring, Paxton created aesthetic narratives open to interpretation and considerate of the times he lived in. Painted in 1907, “The Yellow Jacket,” is a purely pleasurable interior scene with Paxton’s hallmark touches; an elegant women in a refined Chinese jacket appears to study an impressive tome on a table beside a small window.
One of several paintings by Andrew Wyeth to be offered in American art, all of which came from a private North Carolina collection, “Only Child” realized $305,000, while an untitled work by the artist finished at $137,000.
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