Il­lus­tra­tive Re­sults

Sotheby’s Amer­i­can art sale is dom­i­nated by Nor­man Rock­well il­lus­tra­tions

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

Nor­man Rock­well il­lus­tra­tions won the day at Sotheby’s May 23 auc­tion of Amer­i­can art. The sale to­taled $43.3 mil­lion, with the Rock­wells ac­count­ing for six of the top 10 lots.the 12 works of­fered from the artist re­al­ized a total of $19.8 mil­lion, led by the mon­u­men­tal Black­smith’s Boy—heel and Toe (Shafts­bury Black­smith Shop)

(est. $7/10 mil­lion), which achieved $8.1 mil­lion.

“The sale went very well over­all, and we were pleased with the re­sults,” says Sotheby’s vice pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can art Kayla Carlsen. “the sig­nif­i­cant take­away was re­ally in the strength of the il­lus­tra­tion mar­ket in gen­eral, and Nor­man Rock­well in par­tic­u­lar.”

Other Rock­well suc­cesses in­cluded Boy Play­ing Flute Sur­rounded by An­i­mals (Spring­time), which achieved $4.1 mil­lion, above its high es­ti­mate of $2.5 mil­lion; Little Girl Look­ing Down­stairs at Christ­mas Party (est. $1/1.5 mil­lion), which sold for

$2.1 mil­lion; Over­heard Lovers (est. $800/1,200,000), which re­al­ized $1.6 mil­lion; The Little Model (est. $1/1.5 mil­lion), which achieved $1.2 mil­lion; and What a Dif­fer­ence Light Makes! (Young Cou­ple Sur­prised by Young Brother) which soared passed its high es­ti­mate of $500,000 to sell for $1.2 mil­lion. “In the past, Rock­well col­lec­tors have tra­di­tion­ally val­ued cover il­lus­tra­tions over ad­ver­tise­ment, but with What a Dif­fer­ence Light Makes!, there were many bid­ders that drove the sale price over its es­ti­mate,” Carlsen elab­o­rates. She sees this as a sign that peo­ple are be­gin­ning to bid based on the im­age it­self, rather than be­cause of the im­age’s orig­i­nal use. N.c .wyeth also per­formed well, setting a new world auc­tion record with Por­trait of a Farmer (Penn­syl­va­nia Farmer) (est. $2.5/3.5 mil­lion), which was the sec­ond-high­est achiev­ing lot in the sale at

$6 mil­lion.“it was ren­dered by N.c. wyeth as a per­sonal work rather than a com­mis­sion, ex­plains Carlsen. “it ap­pealed to il­lus­tra­tion buy­ers, Bucks County col­lec­tors and re­gion­al­ist col­lec­tors, so it was not a sur­prise at all that it did so well.”

Ge­orge Luks’ The Swan Boats, a circa 1922 paint­ing de­pict­ing the pond in the Bos­ton Com­mon, sold for $1.2 mil­lion, well above its high es­ti­mate of $700,000. Pro­ceeds from this sale will ben­e­fit the Mu­seum of Fine Arts, Bos­ton. An­other high­light was Mil­ton Avery’s The Seam­stress, which achieved $2.2 mil­lion.

Mil­ton Avery (1885-1965), The Seam­stress, 1944. Oil on can­vas, 48 x 32 in., signed and dated cen­ter left: ‘Mil­ton Avery / 1944’. © 2018 Mil­ton Avery Trust / Artists Rights So­ci­ety (ARS),New York. Es­ti­mate: $2/3 mil­lion SOLD: $2,175,000

Nor­man Rock­well (1894-1978), Little Girl Look­ing Down­stairs atChrist­mas Party, 1964. Oil on can­vas, 28 x 29 in., signed lower right: ‘Nor­man/rock­well’. Es­ti­mate: $1/1.5 mil­lion SOLD: $2,055,000

Nor­man Rock­well (1894-1978), The Little Model, 1919. Oil on can­vas, 30 x 16 in., signed lower left: ‘Nor­man/rock­well’. Es­ti­mate $1/1.5 mil­lion SOLD: $1,215,000

N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), Por­trait of a Farmer (Penn­syl­va­nia Farmer), 1943. Tem­pera on Re­nais­sance panel, 40 x 60 in., signed lower left: ‘N.C. Wyeth’. Es­ti­mate: $2.5/3.5 mil­lion SOLD: $5,985,900

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