Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sotheby’s American Art Auction: Sargent, Rockwell, Avery, Parrish, Macdonald-Wright, Remington

For a third consecutive season, Sotheby’s American Art auction has surpassed its presale expectations – today’s auction totaled $28,087,750, above a high estimate of $24.4 million*, and sold a strong 83.9% by lot.

Highlights included:

- The enduring strength of the market for works by Norman Rockwell was felt throughout the sale – the six examples on offer together sold for an impressive $6.5 million, more than double their overall high estimate of $3 million. Seven bidders battled for

He’s Going to Be Taller than Dad, a domestic scene of a boy and his faithful dog that fetched $2,629,000 (est. $500/700,000). (This follows Sotheby’s November 2012 sale of American Art in which five works by Rockwell totaled $6.1 million, again demonstrating the continued appetite for works by the American icon.)

- The top lot of the auction was John Singer Sargent’s Marionettes from 1907, which achieved $5,205,000 (est. $5/7 million). The highly personal painting remained in the artist’s collection for more than 20 years before descending through his family to the owner who offered the work today.

- New world auction records were established for Milton Avery, William Keith and Irving Ramsey Wiles.

Avery’s Music Makers, on offer from the estate of screen star Gregory Peck and his wife Veronique, achieved $2,965,000 – double its $1.5 million high estimate.

Seven works emerging from important American museums together brought $2.9 million, including

Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s Trumpet Flowers that sold for $785,000 (est. $400/600,000). The painting was sold by the Museum of Modern Art to benefit the acquisitions fund, and was fittingly purchased by another East Coast museum.

Frederic Remington’s Call the Doctor, sold by the Art Institute of Chicago, led the group with a price of $1,085,000 (est. $1/1.5 million).

More sales – Sales price and estimate:

Norman Rockwell, Doc Melhorn and the Pearly Gates, 1938 $1,085,000 (£716,266) $1,000,000 - 1,500,000

Norman Rockwell, Sport, 1939 $905,000 (£597,439) $300,000 - 500,000

Norman Rockwell, The Veterinarian, 1961 $845,000 (£557,829) $200,000 - 300,000

Maxfield Parrish, Wynken, Blynken and Nod, 1902 $845,000 (£557,829) $200,000 - 300,000

Maxfield Parrish, Prometheus, 1919 $785,000 (£518,220) $400,000 - 600,000