Bonhams’ May 22 American art sale saw four world auction records and a number of works brand new to the auction block
The American art sale at Bonhams this past May reached nearly $2 million in total sales at $1,946,845, with a number of lots achieving numbers well past their high estimates.“i think the success is mostly due in part to the fact that we have a lot of fantastic items that were fresh to the market, many of which appeared at auction for the first time,” says Jennifer Jacobsen, director of American art at Bonhams. Four world auction records were set during the sale.
The top lot was Charles E. Prendergast’s Fantasy (est. $200/300,000), a detailed and complex composition created with tempera, gold leaf and pencil, which more than doubled its high estimate when it sold for $704,075.“The Prendergast was such a superb work— the complexity, color, retaining the artist’s original frame and being in the same family’s collection since 1924,” says Jacobsen.
An artist world auction record was set for Stephen Hannock’s The Oxbow, for Lane Faison with Betty and Agnes Mongan (Mass MOCA #147), also marking the first time a work from the artist’s famed Oxbow series had ever come to auction.the work sold for $250,075, shattering its high estimate
Entente Cordiale, an exotic jungle scene by Orville Bulman, yielded a pleasantly surprising result, Jacobsen says.“i had expected a strong result, but it ended up doubling the previous auction record for that artist.” Other notable sales include Marvin D. Cone’s Night Adventure (est. $40/60,000) at $100,075; and The Acrobat by Alton Pickens, which demolished its high estimate of $3,500 when it sold for a staggering $93,825. “[The Acrobat] is a really kind of quirky work and is now an artist auction record. It’s such an interesting image, and the intrigue translated to a lot of bidding,” says Jacobsen. The other work in the sale to achieve a world auction record was Stephen Greene’s Carrying the Cross, which sold for $22,575, soaring past a high estimate of $12,000.
“I thought it was a really well-rounded sale in terms of the registrants and buyers we had,” Jacobsen says of the May sale.“we saw a lot of new collectors as well as established collectors. [It] goes back to the freshness and quality we had.”
ca. 1916-18. Tempera, gold leaf and pencil on incised gessoed panel, 23 x 31 in., signed lower left: ‘C. Prendergast.’ Estimate: $200/300,000 SOLD: $704,075 Fern Isabel Coppedge (1888-1951), The Clearing, ca. 1925. Oil on canvas, 181/8 x 20¼ in., signed lower right: ‘Fern I Coppedge’; signed and inscribed with title on stretcher. Estimate: $30/50,000 SOLD: $40,075
Charles E. Prendergast (1863-1948), Fantasy,
Marvin D. Cone (1891-1965), Night Adventure, 1951. Oil on canvas, 24¼ x 30¼ in., signed lower right: ‘Marvin / Cone’; inscribed with title on stretcher. Estimate: $40/60,000 SOLD: $100,075
Alton Pickens (1917-1991), The Acrobat, 1947. Oil on canvas, 49¾ x 34 in., signed and dated lower left: ‘Pickens / 4 • 1947’. Estimate: $2,5/3,500 SOLD: $93,825