Lead­ing the Way

Christie’s May 22 American art sale brings in nearly $33 mil­lion in sales with sev­eral key auc­tion records

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

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

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