Il­lus­tra­tive Suc­cess

Works by Nor­man Rock­well, J.C. Leyen­decker and other Golden Age il­lus­tra­tors lead Her­itage Auc­tions’ Novem­ber 3 Amer­i­can art sale

American Fine Art Magazine - - Event Report: New York, Ny -

Works by Nor­man Rock­well, J.C. Leyen­decker and other Golden Age il­lus­tra­tors lead Her­itage Auc­tions’ Novem­ber 3 Amer­i­can art sale

Golden Age il­lus­tra­tors have cap­ti­vated au­di­ences for decades through im­ages that are deeply rooted in Amer­i­cana. Many of the works ap­peared on mag­a­zine cov­ers and in ad­ver­tise­ments, mak­ing them iconic scenes rec­og­nized by the masses. In Her­itage Auc­tions’ Novem­ber 3 Amer­i­can Art Sig­na­ture Auc­tion, fine art col­lec­tors con­tin­ued to show their in­ter­est in the sub­ject mat­ter as five of the top 10 lots were il­lus­tra­tions and a num­ber of world auc­tion records were set in the cat­e­gory.

Top­ping the sale was the re­cently re­dis­cov­ered Nor­man Rock­well il­lus­tra­tion Lazy­bones, de­pict­ing a young boy and his dog tak­ing a break from yard­work.the piece, which came to auc­tion from the Grant fam­ily, had been stolen from their home nearly 40 years ago and was only re­cov­ered months be­fore it hit the auc­tion block.the work, which sold for $912,500, ap­peared on the cover of the Septem­ber 6, 1919, edi­tion of The Sat­ur­day Evening Post.

“It was an early work, done when the artist was a young man.the back­story with it hav­ing been miss­ing is part of the paint­ing it­self,” says Aviva Lehmann, di­rec­tor of Amer­i­can art at Her­itage Auc­tions. “A won­der­ful, anony­mous col­lec­tor bought it and plans to have the com­mu­nity en­joy it as well. It’s the per­fect end­ing to this very long story.” In ad­di­tion to Lazy­bones, two other Rock­wells landed in the top 10 lots: Fishes Like Neck­ties, a 1934 in­te­rior il­lus­tra­tion study for Amer­i­can Mag­a­zine, and There is Only One Rea­son, which was a Roe­bling Cor­po­ra­tion Steel Wire Rope ad­ver­tise­ment study from May 1983.The for­mer work landed squarely within its pre­sale es­ti­mate at $200,000, while the lat­ter piece more than tripled its high es­ti­mate of $24,000 when it sold for $75,000. Lehmann ac­knowl­edges in­ter­est at all lev­els for the artist, not­ing,“we are see­ing very heavy in­ter­est in all me­dia and price points for Rock­well.”

J.C. Leyen­decker’s The Res­cue of Theophilus New­be­gin, the Septem­ber 21, 1907, Sat­ur­day Evening Post cover, was also note­wor­thy.the piece, which had a pre­sale es­ti­mate of $100,000 to $150,000, brought in $187,500 to be­come the fourth high­est earn­ing lot of the day.there were also two Sat­ur­day Evening Post cov­ers by lesser-known il­lus­tra­tors of the time pe­riod that caught col­lec­tor at­ten­tion: Al­bert W. Hamp­son’s Bump Mo­bile (est. $30/50,000) at $137,500 and Monte Crews’ Am­a­teur Nite - Cow­boy Bill’s Ram­blers (est. $20/30,000) at $40,000. Both set new world auc­tion records for the artists.there was also a 43lot sin­gle-owner col­lec­tion of Golden Age il­lus­tra­tion that came to the mar­ket in

the sale, which saw sev­eral new records in­clud­ing Isa Bar­nett’s Suf­fragettes (est. $1,5/2,500) at $10,630. “These re­sults show us with il­lus­tra­tions that high tides are rais­ing all ships,” says Lehmann. “If it’s Sat­ur­day Evening Post, Golden Age [and] good nar­ra­tive, the mar­ket will re­spond re­ally well.”

Out­side of the il­lus­tra­tion seg­ment, the auc­tion house had suc­cess with ear­lier ex­am­ples.“what re­ally sur­prised me in a won­der­ful way was that we did very well with more tra­di­tional cat­e­gories like im­pres­sion­ism and Hud­son River School,” says Lehmann.

Ge­orge Henry Dur­rie’s circa 1863 paint­ing Win­ter in the Coun­try,a Cold Morn­ing (est. $300/500,000) sold just above its low es­ti­mate at $324,500.“He was a clas­sic Hud­son River School painter best known for snow scenes, and this was one of the best ones to come to mar­ket,” shares Lehmann. “…[For it to] sell for a strong price demon­strates our suc­cess with all cat­e­gories of Amer­i­can art, but also our cross-mar­ket­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It sold to one of our col­lec­tors that doesn’t tra­di­tion­ally col­lect Hud­son River School paint­ings, but un­der­stood the qual­ity of the work and fell in love with it as we all did.” Other high­lights in­cluded William Mer­ritt Chase’s Un­ti­tled (Nude Rest­ing in a Chair) at $125,000; Fran­cis Criss’ Third Av­enue El (est. $30/50,000) at $62,000; Har­riet Whit­ney Fr­ish­muth’s bronze Joy of the Wa­ters (est. $80/120,000), which sold for $150,000; and a sketch of artist San­ford Robin­son Gif­ford by East­man John­son that achieved $45,000 against a pre­sale es­ti­mate of $7,000 to $10,000.

Far left: J.C. Leyen­decker (18741951), The Res­cue of Theophilus New­be­gin, The Sat­ur­day Evening Post cover, Septem­ber 21, 1907. Oil on can­vas laid on Ma­sonite, 24 x 20 in., signed lower right: ‘Jcleyen­decker’. Es­ti­mate: $100/150,000 SOLD: $187,500

Left: Nor­man Rock­well (18941978), Fishes Like Neck­ties, Amer­i­can Mag­a­zine in­te­rior il­lus­tra­tion study, 1934. Oil on can­vas, 31 x 29¾ in. Es­ti­mate: $150/250,000 SOLD: $200,000

Nor­man Rock­well (1894-1978), Lazy­bones, The Sat­ur­day Evening Post cover, Septem­ber 6, 1919. Oil on can­vas, 26 x 24 in., signed cen­ter left: ‘Nor­man / Rock­well’. Es­ti­mate: $1/1.5 mil­lion SOLD: $912,500

Ge­orge Henry Dur­rie (1820-1863), Win­ter in the Coun­try, A Cold Morn­ing, ca. 1863. Oil on can­vas, 26 x 36 in. Es­ti­mate: $300/500,000 SOLD: $324,500

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