A Connecticut auction house got a Wayne Thiebaud on consignment for their annual New Year’s auction that caused a fair bit of consternation, according to the Hartford Courant.
Ed Nadeau of Nadeau’s Auction Gallery had never heard of Thiebaud before receiving Lollipop Tree, a tiny 13 x 10 inch work from 1969. So he did his research.
First, there was an Allan Stone label on the back of the work giving evidence that the work came from Thiebaud’s gallerist. So Nadeau’s team contacted the artist directly:
“He’s 97 years old. His assistant called us about it,” he said. “He confirmed it was his. He said it was definitely his brush stroke.”
Nadeau eventually put a $400 to 800k estimate on the work. The seller was quite conservative. He believing his painting should have a mid-five figure estimate.
“We talked before the sale. He said ‘I still think the estimate is too high.’
But I said, ‘no, we’re good,’ ” Nadeau said.
The artist, who didn’t really have a say in the matter, disagreed with Nadeau’s decision:
“He wanted to know why we had listed it for so low,” he said.
In the end, Nadeau was proved right. The painting sold for a phone bidder from Paris who paid $1.08m with fees.
Wayne Thiebaud Painting Sells For $1.08 Million At Windsor Auction Gallery (Hartford Courant)