Christie’s American Art Sale
Christie’s American art sale includes Western works from the estate of Eugene V. Thaw.
New York, NY
Christie’s will offer Western works in a mix of genre and mediums at its American art sale on Tuesday, November 20. Works by Georgia O’keeffe and Charles M. Russell come from the estate of prominent art dealer and historian Eugene V. Thaw. In Russell’s bronze Weapons of the Weak, which holds an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000, a porcupine skitters by a mother bear and her cub. “It’s a charming little bronze, characteristic of Russell’s wit” says Christie’s vice president, specialist, of American art Tylee Abbott. He also notes that the cast is particularly exciting because it was most likely cast during the artist’s lifetime, whereas a fair number of Russell bronzes were cast after his death.
The O’keeffe, Black Door with Snow (est. $1/1.5 million), sits in contrast to the Russell, representing the modernist end of the Western art spectrum. It comes from a series of images of her patio door in Abiquiu, New Mexico, and at 36 by 30 inches, it is one of the larger canvases in that series. “O’keeffe would famously come to a subject and explore it over and over again,” Abbott says.
The snow motif makes this view unique, with the flakes adding in a new dimension, breaking up what is otherwise a very abstract scene. Abbott adds, “The piece is very affordable for the O’keeffe market. She’s finally being recognized and contextualized within American art history, and she’s certainly one of the most important female artists in the history of our country. For such a large canvas, this is a very reasonable estimate.”
Another New Mexico-inspired piece with a modernist bent is Marsden Hartley’s Landscape with Single Cloud (est. $500/700,000). The painting comes from the artist’s New Mexico Recollections series, completed while he spent time in Berlin. With such a great distance between the artist and his subject, the painting is sparse, refined down to the essence of the Southwest
Abbott says, “I think these three works speak to Christie’s and the American team’s commitment to offering top quality Western examples that are fresh to the market, and I think they are a good representation of the entire auction.”
Charles M. Russell (18641926), Weapons of the Weak, modeled 1921, cast ca. 1922-28, bronze with brown patina, 5¾” Estimate: $40/60,000
Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Landscape with Single Cloud, 1923, oil on canvas, 28 ½ x 41” Estimate: $500/700,000