One of the surprises of the Rockefeller collection sale two weeks ago was the huge price achieved by the American art evening sale. That auction totaled $106.8m with strong performances for classic names in the American field like Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Maurice Prendergast and Milton Avery.
As with the Impressionist and Modern market, there was some concern that the Rockefeller sales might crowd out the rest of the market. That clearly didn’t happen with Imp-Mod which saw a total of $1.5bn in sales, including the Rockefeller material.
Tomorrow, May 22nd, we’ll see the Rockefeller collection’s effect on the American market as Christie’s holds its American sales (followed by Sotheby’s the day after.) Highlights of Christie’s sale include the work of Georgia O’Keeffe who is increasingly showing up in the marquee May and November auctions of Impressionist and Modern art. Here’s Christie’s release:
The top lot of the sale is Georgia O’Keeffe’s seminal work, Hibiscus, painted in 1939 during her three-month Hawaiian sojourn at the behest of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (estimated: $4,000,000-6,000,000). Composed of brilliant and varying hues, Hibiscus is an affirmation of O’Keeffe’s color theory and epitomizes the brilliance of the artist’s Hawaiian works that excited such praise from contemporary critics.
Norman Rockwell in the sale is Piano Tuner, painted in 1947, and gifted to the boy depicted in the painting,Andrew Smith. As payment for his work, Rockwell gave young Smith, only eight years old at the time, $5 to model for him.
Works from a private Midwestern Collection include Childe Hassam’s Conversation on the Avenue and George Wesley Bellow’s Evening Blue (Tending the Lobster Traps. Early morning) (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000 and $1,000,000-1,500,000).
From the Collection of Joan and Preston Robert Tisch: Milton Avery’s Red Nude (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000) and General MacArthur on the Rocks (estimate: $20,000-30,000)