On September 17th, Sotheby’s presented a selection of mid and lower-level American paintings and the results were a bit disappointing (unless otherwise noted, all sold prices include the buyer’s premium)
Taking the top spot was a beautiful Daniel Garber’s Environs of Milford which sold for $325,000 (est. $200-300K). In second they had Milton Avery’s Mexican Washerwomen at $225,000 (est. $200-300K) and nabbing the third position was Philip Leslie Hale’s The Water’s Edge which made $200,000 (est. $80-120K). Rounding out the top five were two works at $162,500; William S. Haseltine’s Nahant Rocks (est. $120-160K) and Milton Avery’s Gaspé Bay (est. $150-250K).
There were also a few additional lots that preformed well; these included Ludwig Bemelmans’ An Illustration for ‘Madeline’ – $23,750 (est. $8-12K); Henry O Tanner’s Untitled (A Water Carrier) – $65,000 (est. $15-25K); Regis F. Gignoux’s On the Upper Hudson – $32,500 (est. $8-12K); Childe Hassam’s June Day Bather – $81,250 (est. $15-25K); Stanley M. Arthurs’ The Refugees from the Niagara Frontier – $11,875 (est. $2-3K); and Alfred T. Bricher’s Lake George – $32,500 (est. $10-15K).
On the other side, there were a number of big failures which included Wyeth ($120-180K); three by Kensett ($80-120K), ($120-180K), and ($150-250K); Peto ($40-60K); Redfield ($80-120K); Marsh ($80-120K); and Du Bois ($120-180K).
By the end of the sale, of the 143 works in the catalog, 89 sold, 53 were bought-in, and 1 was withdrawn – this left them with a sell-through rate of 62.2%. Of the 89 sold works, 51 fell below, 24 within, and 14 above their estimate range; leaving them with an accuracy rate of just 16.8% … not very strong. And then there are the all-important numbers — the low end of their presale estimate range was $4.48M and the sale generated $3.74M; since that included the buyer’s commissions, they fell well short of their goal.