As Christie’s New York auction extravaganza comes to a close, the last to cross the auction block was their 20th Century American Art sale, and I would say it went out in style.
Taking the top spot in the American Art sale was Sunset by Arthur Dove (considered the first American abstract artist); it sold for more than double the high estimate when it hammered down at $6.5M ($7.8M w/p – est. $2 -3M). In second place was Thomas Hart Benton’s Keith Farm, Chilmark that made $4M ($4.83Mamerican w/p), doubling the low estimate of $2-3M. And rounding out the top three was a work by Paul Cadmus titled Lloyd and Barbara Wescott; the estimate of $300- 500K was left in the dust as the painting fetched $2M ($2.43M w/p)!
A few additional lots performed well… George Copeland Ault’s The Plough and the Moon, which was estimated to make $120 -180K and sold for $550K ($688K w/p). Jacob Lawrence had a strong result for his Builders – 19 Men; estimated to make $100 -150K, it hammered down at $520K ($650K w/p). And two paintings by Wolf Kahn far exceeded their estimates; each was expected to bring $25-35K. Atlantic Highlands sold for $170K ($212K w/p) and Looking Up-River garnered $150K ($187.5K w/p).
There were 78 works offered in the American Art sale, of which 66 sold and 12 were bought-in, for a sell-through rate of 84.6%. The accuracy rate of the estimates was a dismal 16.6%; of the works that sold, 20 fell below, 13 were within, and 33 pieces sold for more than the estimate. In the end, the results were strong as the pre-sale estimate range was $17.2 – 25.8M, and when the final hammer fell, the sale generated $23.6M ($28.9M w/p); a successful sale!