Leading the Way
Christie’s May 22 American art sale brings in nearly $33 million in sales with several key auction records
Stefan Hirsch’s 1929 oil Excavations was offered by Christie’s with estimates of $200,000 to $300,000 at its May 22 American art sale in New York.a steady stream of bids were cast and the work eventually sold at $399,000, a world record for the precisionist painter. It was the third lot.
By the end of the 86-lot sale eight other works would become record breakers at the annual spring auction. “It’s been another very successful season here at Christie’s.we are very happy to see once again strong sales, a great sell-through
rate just under 80 percent, and lots of auction records being sent,” says Paige Kestenman, a specialist in Christie’s American art department.“we’re very happy leading the market for the fifth year.”
Other major records include Charles Green Shaw’s Plastic Polygon (est. $250/350,000) that sold for $555,000; O. Louis Guglielmi’s Land of Canaan (est. $120/180,000) that sold for $225,000; and Kenneth M. Adams’ Taos Indian— Evening (est. $200/300,000), which sold for $519,000, nearly doubling a 20-year record set by the same piece in 1999.
The top lot was also a record breaker: Marsden Hartley’s oil on canvas Abstraction (est. $4/6 million), which sold for more than $6.7 million, breaking an 11-year record by more than $500,000.Additional records were set for Konrad Cramer, Abraham Walkowitz, Thornton Utz, and Arthur Dove, who achieved a record for a work on paper when his Nature Symbolized No. 1 (Roofs) sold just over estimates at $1.9 million. Other top lots were Norman Rockwell’s The Homecoming, which squeaked past its high estimate of $6.5 million when it sold for $6,517,500; Childe Hassam’s In the Old House (est. $1.2/1.8 million) that sold for nearly $1.5 million; and Edward Hopper’s Windy Day (est. $1/1.5 million) watercolor that sold for nearly $1.2 million.
Western works also performed strongly with three Alfred Jacob Miller paintings of Native Americans that brought in a combined total of more than $480,000, and Henry Farny’s 1911 oil The Day is Done achieving $735,000, surpassing a $600,000 high estimate. N.c.wyeth had two strong illustration pieces,
but with Western subject matter: “There fell a long silence through which O’hara read and Kenyon kept watch at the window” sold for $543,000, clearing well over a $300,000 high estimate, and
“She found Chingachgook studying the shores of the lake, the mountains, and the heavens…” that sold for $645,000, just missing its low estimate of $700,000.
Many of the works in the sale came from the Michael Scharf Family Collection and the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, both of which are prominent and treasured collections of American art materials.
Right: Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Abstraction, 191213. Oil on canvas, 46½ x 39¾ in. Artist World Auction Record. Estimate: $4/6 million SOLD: $6,744,500 Far right: N.C. Wyeth (18821945), “There fell a long silence through which O’hara read and Kenyon kept watch at the window”, 1911. Oil on canvas, 34 x 25 in., signed lower left: ‘N.C. Wyeth’. Estimate: $200/300,000 SOLD: $543,000
Top: Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Windy Day, 1938. Watercolor on paper, 19½ x 28 in., signed lower right: ‘Edward Hopper’. Estimate: $1/1.5 million SOLD: $1,155,000 Right: Henry F. Farny (18471916), The Day is Done, 1911. Oil on canvas, 24 x 16 in., signed and dated lower right with artist’s device: ‘.H.F. Farny/1911’. Estimate: $400/600,000 SOLD: $735,000 Far right: Norman Rockwell (18941978), The Homecoming, 1945. Oil on canvas, 28 x 22 in., signed lower right: ‘Norman/rockwell’. Estimate: $4.5/6.5 million SOLD: $6,517,500