The American art auctions held in the aftermath of the May marquee sales in New York posted some decent numbers this week. That comes after a massive $106m spent on American art during the Rockefeller auctions. We’ll try to put together a global analysis of the American art sales including Rockefeller lots along with Christie’s and Sotheby’s American sales for AMMpro subscribers. In the meantime, the two sales together were $76.1m in total with 77% of the 193 lots sold. About a quarter of the lots sold for prices above the high estimate. The lot most competed over was a Daniel Chester French painting of George Washington originally estimated at $40-60k that sold for $187,500.
Christie’s American Art = $76.8m
Hopper Sale to Fund Contemporary Purchases
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is selling this Edward Hopper painting, East Wind over Weehawken (1934), in December at Christie’s with an estimate of $22-28m following the $19m sale of Hopper’s “Blackwell’s Island” which was in turn picked up by the Crystal Bridges Museum. PAFA is keeping its other Hopper painting, Apartment Houses, which was the artist’s first work to be acquired by a museum and using the proceeds from East Wind over Weehawken to bulk up the endowment and purchase contemporary art.
The museum’s director, Harry Philbrick, wrote in PAFA’s press release:
“We are going back to our tradition of actively collecting contemporary art. Just as we purchased Apartment Houses when Hopper was still an emerging artist, we will use the proceeds from the endowment to build a broad base of the works of today’s emerging and mid-career artists, and tomorrow’s.”
Mr. Philbrick said that if the work fetches its estimate, it will quintuple the funds generated annually for the purchase of art. About 25 percent of the endowment will be dedicated to filling gaps in the collection of historic art, but around three quarters of new investments will be in contemporary art.
The main focus will be American painting and sculpture, Mr. Philbrick said, but “we will be looking to buy significant works across various mediums.” The museum recently added a Bill Viola video installation to its collection.
Pennsylvania Museum Selling a Hopper to Raise Endowment for Contemporary Art (ArtsBeat/NYTimes)
Christie’s American Paintings = $27.2m
- Mary Cassatt, Sara Holding a Cat ($800-1.2m) $2.5m
- Frederick Carl Frieseke, Foxgloves ($1-1.5m) $2.2m
- Georgia O’Keeffe, Deer Horns ($1.2-1.8m) $1.9m
- Robert Frederick Blum, Venetian Gondoliers ($500-700k) $1.1m.jpeg
- Milton Avery, Adolescent ($400-600k) $1.022m
- Georgia O’Keeffe, Lake George in Woods ($300-500k) $902,500
- Martin Johnson Heade, Hummingbird and Two Types of Orchids ($600-800k) $818,500
- Milton Avery, Nude ($250-350k) $722,500.
- Milton Avery, Three Figures and a Dog ($400-600k) $662,500
- Guy Rose, Tamarisk Trees, Southern France ($250-350k) $458,500
Sotheby’s American Art = $34.8m
- Edward Hopper, Bridle Path ($5-7m) $10.38m
- Frederic Remington, A Halt ($800-1.2m) $2.77m
- Andrew Wyeth, Jacklight ($600-900k) $1.538m
- Martin Johnson Heade, A Pair of Nesting Crimson Topaz Hummingbirds ($400-600k) $1.022m
- Elie Nadelman, Horse ($200-300k) $842,500
- David Johnson, View from New Windsor, Hudson River ($300-500k) $722,500
- Milton Avery, Girl with Telephone ($200-300k) $692,500
- Thomas Hart Benton, Rice Threshing ($250-350k) $602,500
- Frederic Remington, A Critical Moment ($120-180k) $362,500
- Niles Spencer, In Fairmont ($100-150k) $332,500
- Thomas Moran, Venice ($60-80k) $158,500
- Hermon Atkins Macneil, The Sun Vow ($40-60k) $122,500
- Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Cape Cod ($20-30k) $116,500
- Anna Mary Robertson Moses, Saddle Bags ($40-60k) $110,500