Discovered American Impressionist Comes to Market
The New Hampshire Union Leader crows about the American Impressionist painting bought for $100 by a clever ‘picker’ at a local yard sale. It’s in Skinner’s Jan. 28 sale in Boston estimated at $50-70,000:
The painting by Frederick Carl Frieseke, called “Olive Trees, Cagnes,” was discovered by an antique picker, an experienced dealer who stopped by a yard sale in southern New Hampshire last summer on the hunt for something special.
Every picker dreams of finding an antique gem hidden in a pile of junk that’s worth big bucks, but Starr said it rarely happens.Continue Reading
The Russian Who Wasn't So Valuable as an American
Howard Rehs had an excellent item in his report last week that probably got buried within his comments on the overall Victorian, Old Master and American painting markets. He pointed out that Nikolai Fechin’s The Little Cowboy was sold in London by MacDougall, the Russian specialist auction house, for a stunning £6.9m which was 10x the estimate.
What was so striking about the story wasn’t the bidding war that seemed to erupt out of nowhere. There were two phone bidders, one who bid in steady, small increments and another who tried to knock the work free. It was bought by the more measured bidder.
The shock came from the fact that it was the second bidding war to break out over the painting in 2010. The first was in New York where Fechin is also considered an American artist because of the quarter century he spent in the country. There his work sold for twice the high estimate. But it was only upon being included in MacDougall’s Russian sale in London seven months later did the price jump so dramatically.
Norman Rockwell's Bedrock Prices
The Wall Street Journal decided to look at Norman Rockwell prices as a recap on the American Paintings sales. What’s interesting about the chart is the volume of sales during ’06-’07, two of the boomier years in the last decade. But even with the credit crisis, Rockwell’s sales volume has consolidated above pre-bubble levels before Rockwell’s realism began to be re-examined:
in recent years, collectors and museums have come to embrace the artist. At auction, 87% of the Rockwell oil paintings offered for sale this year have been sold, up from 73% last year.
“The Fighting Gillises (Willie Gillis’ Generations; Willie Gillis),” portraits of a fictitious family of soldiers, sold for $926,500; it was estimated to sell for $700,000 to $1 million. […] In 2006, the 1954 painting “Breaking Home Ties” set a record and sold for $15.4 million, well over its $6 million high estimate.
At a Norman Rockwell Sale, It’s Still Cool to Be Square (Wall Street Journal)
Hidden American Holdings of the Barnes
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Edward Sozanski offers this fascinating account of a new book that catalogues the substantial collection of American paintings held by the Barnes in Philadelphia. William Glackens was a friend of Barnes and helped him begin collecting what became 343 works of American art, including 71 by Glackens himself:
The others are brothers Charles and Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, Jules Pascin, Alfred H. Maurer, Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth, and Horace Pippin. Their works account for about two-thirds of the American collection.
This is an eclectic bunch, to say the least. Lawson is usually classified as an impressionist and Maurice Prendergast as a postimpressionist. Maurer, though American, lived in Paris, where he helped Barnes contact dealers. Pascin, a native of Bulgaria, was a European modernist who came to the United States during World War I, became a citizen in 1920, and promptly moved back to Europe.Continue Reading