Earlier this month, Sotheby’s offered up a group of American paintings ranging from Hudson River School, to Western, to Impressionist, to Modernist, to Contemporary.
Taking the number one spot, and a surprise to many, was a small (20 x 16 inches) Floral Still Life by Nicolai Fechin that was estimated to bring $100-150K and hammered at $350K ($441 w/p) – I am sure the sellers were delighted. In second was Sanford R. Gifford’s Leander’s Towner on the Bosphorus. This well done 8.5 x 16.5-inch canvas carried a $60-80K estimate and brought $240K ($302.4K w/p) – another happy seller! There was a tie for third place when two bronzes by Remington, The Rattlesnake (est. $80-120K) and The Mountain Man (est. $60-80K), each made $150K ($189K w/p). Rounding out the top five were Andrew Wyeth’s Wash Bucket – $95K ($120K w/p – est. $60-80K), and Milton Avery’s Girl in Stocking Hat – $90K ($113.4K w/p – est. $100-150K).
Several works did better than expected; these included Nicolino Calyo’s American Landscape with Indians ($70K – est. $15-25K), E.M. Hennings’ Sunlit Aspen Grove ($60K – est. $20-30K), Jessie A. Botke’s Pair of Egrets ($48K – est. $10-15K), Emil Bistrram’s Sound Dynamics ($24K – est. $12-28K), and John Whorf’s Brooklyn Navy Yard ($11K – est. $3-5K). And then there were those that found no takers. Among them were works by Wolf Kahn, Everett Shinn, Milton Avery, Emil Carlsen, Alter L. Palmer, and George H. Durrie.
One painting of special interest to us was lot 77 – Guy Wiggins’ St. Patrick’s, Winter (16 x 12 inches). From the photo, it did not appear to be one of his finest works. The lot was estimated at $25-35K and hammered at $50K ($63K w/p) – a pretty nice result! Currently, we have a work by the artist featuring a view of Wall Street; one of Wiggins’ most sought-after scenes… not to mention it’s already clean and retains its original period frame – have a look: Wall Street Winter. You may note that while both works are the same size, the Wall Street Winter scene offers far greater detail and quality – both important factors when evaluating works of art.
By the sale’s end, of the 105 lots offered, 87 sold, giving them a sell-through rate of 82.8% – not bad. The total take was $2.6M ($3.28M w/p), falling into its presale estimate range of $1.97-2.94M. When looking a bit closer, we discover that 26 lots sold below, 20 within, and 41 above their presale estimate ranges. Also, 18 went unsold, leaving them with an accuracy rate of just 19%.