NEW YORK - Sotheby’s sale of American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture achieved a total of $65,198,200 (est. $44,990,000/67,820,000). The top lot of the sale was lot 36, Norman Rockwell’s Gary Cooper as “The Texan,” which sold for $5,921,000 (est. $1.5/2.5 million). Also by Rockwell, River Pilot, lot 125, fetched $2,617,000 (est. $1/1.5 million) and The Checkup, lot 70, sold for $1,385,000 (est. $800,000/1.2 million). Thirteen works by Rockwell were offered, and all found buyers, indicating the strength of the market for the artist.
Two watercolors by Winslow Homer achieved great prices: The Fishergirls, lot 8, sold for $4,521,000 (est. $4/6 million); and Portrait of a Lady, lot 15, sold for $2,169,000 (est. $2/3 million). Another highlight of the sale was N.C. Wyeth’s Indian Love Call, lot 39, which achieved a price of $1,833,000 (est. $800,000/1.2 million).
Several artist records were set, including a record for a work by Milton Avery, whose The Reader and the Listener, lot 18, sold for $2,505,000 (est. $700/900,000), surpassing the previous record of $992,000. The record for Charles Burchfield was broken when his A Dream of Butterflies, lot 49, sold for $1,329,000 (est. $500/700,000), exceeding the previous record of $856,000. Additional artist records were set for Hovsep Pushman, whose Narcissa, lot 140, fetched $541,000 (est. $80/120,000) and for Stanton MacDonald-Wright, when his Synchromy, lot 29, sold for $2,281,000 (est. $400/600,000), more than three times its high estimate.
Many works in the sale more than doubled their estimates. Henry F. Farny’s His Favorite Wife, lot 157, sold for $1,105,000 (est. $500/700,000) and John Singer Sargent’s portrait of John Ridgely Carter, lot 143, sold for $1,833,000 (est. $600/800,000).
Dara Mitchell, Director of the American Paintings department, said, “In today’s sale, fifteen lots sold for over $1 million. The sale was distinguished by an unusually large and varied selection of works by American illustrators, and buyers responded enthusiastically. We offered thirteen works by Norman Rockwell, and all of them sold. Works of 20th century art also did particularly well, with records set for artists Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Milton Avery, and Charles Burchfield.”