The Georgia O’Keeffe museum is selling three paintings led by “Jimson Weed (White Flower No. 1)” (1932), estimated at between $10 and $15m, according to Carol Vogel. Sotheby’s will handle the sale:
Of all O’Keeffe’s flower paintings, this one has a particularly interesting past. It belonged to the artist’s sister, Anita O’Keeffe Young, and for six years had hung in the private dining room in the White House during the George W. Bush administration. It has also been exhibited around the United States, as well as in London and Mexico City. The painting now belongs to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., which has owned it since 1996 and is selling it, along with two other paintings, to benefit its acquisitions fund.
The 17-year old institution has amassed enough work in its collection, 1,149 paintings, drawings and sculptures by O’Keeffe alone, that it says it can start to refine its holdings. “The museum holds half the artist’s output throughout her life,” Robert A. Kret, the museum’s director, explained. “But still there are gaps that need to be filled.”
In choosing what to sell, Mr. Kret and his curatorial team selected images that represent three types of O’Keeffe’s work. Besides “Jimson Weed,” there is a landscape, “On the Old Santa Fe Road,” from 1930-31, which is estimated to bring $2 million to $3 million, and “Untitled (Skunk Cabbage),” a still life from around 1927, which is expected to sell for $500,000 to $750,000.
But “Jimson Weed” is the jewel. Sotheby’s has also sold it twice before, first in 1987, when it was included in property from the estate of the artist’s sister, and sold for $990,000, and again in 1994, where it made $1 million.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to Auction 3 Paintings (NYTimes.com)