Christie's auction is
highlighted by two good-size oil paintings by Thomas Cole (1801-1848),
the founder of the Hudson River School. Cole's works have surprisingly
not fared well at auction in recent years despite his absolute
Of the two, Lot 14, which is entitled "Catskill Mountain
House," is the more important. A medium-size work that measures
15 by 23 ¼ inches, the catalogue maintains it was painted
about 1845-8. It has a very modest estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.
It sold for $1,463,500 including the buyer's premium as do
all results mentioned in this article. Cole, of course, is
best known for his thunderstorm scenes of the Catskills that usually
are larger, 29 by 36 inches, and for his great series of paintings
that are even larger but already in institutions. By all rights,
the Catskill storm paintings should be selling for $2,000,000
to $5,000,000 but they have had trouble, inexplicably, getting
to $1,000,000 in recent auctions. At some point that will change.
The Catskill Mountain House was a very, very famous resort in
the heart of Cole's beloved Catskills. While this is not a storm
scene, it is an unusual and compelling composition.
other Cole, "Hunters
in a Landscape," is Lot 23. It measures 28 ¼ by 35
½ inches and was painted 1824-25 just before Cole really
blossomed and became famous. It has a modest estimate, given its
size, of $200,000 to $300,000 and was once in the well-known collection
of Richard and Gloria Manney. It sold for $231,500.
also has two
good paintings by John F. Kensett (1816-1872), one of the most
important Hudson River painters who also became known as a Luminist.
Lot 9, "Study on Long Island Sound at Darien, Connecticut,"
is being sold by the Amon Carter Museum. It measures 15 ½
by 27 ¾ inches and was painted the year Kensett died. It
is one of his wonderful shore pictures and has a modest estimate
of $250,000 to $350,000. While not one of his masterpieces, it
is very representative and very nice. It sold for $231,500.
from the Amon Carter Museum is Lot 17, which has the same estimate.
Entitled "Waterfall in the Woods with Indians," it measures
17 by 24 inches. Apart from his shore and lake pictures, Kensett
is famous for his woodlands scenes such as "Bash-Bish Falls."
This is unusual in the minimalization of the waterfalls in the
center of the picture. It sold for $455,500.
43 is a very lovely
work entitled "Indian Summer" by Thomas Worthington
Whittredge, an important second-generation Hudson River School
artist, who also did some great Western scenes. The 18 ½-by-15
½ inch oil was painted around 1870 and was once in the
great Phillips Collection in Washington. It is very, very nice
and has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for
Henry Twachtman is
America's greatest Impressionist painter, although his oeuvre
can be uneven. Lot 31, "Gloucester Harbor," is a very
beautiful oil on panel that measures 13 ¼ by 22 ¼
inches. It has a modest estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It is
the most beautiful painting in the auction. It sold for
is better known than Twachtman and Lot 30, "Children in the
Park, Boston" has a very high estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000
presumably because it is very reminiscent of Central Park scenes
by William Merritt Chase, the other great American Impressionist.
It is an oil on canvas that measures 15 by 18 1/2 inches and was
executed circa 1889. It failed to sell.
cover lot of the Christie's
catalogue is a work by Winslow Homer. It is Lot 47, "The
Last Days of Harvest." An oil on canvas, it measures 12 ¼
by 20 inches and is dated 1874. It has an ambitious estimate of
$1,500,000 to $2,500,000 and is being sold by the Strong Museum.
It is not an exciting or great Homer. It sold for $1,127,500.
Strong Museum is also
selling a Homer watercolor, Lot 26, "Young Woman." This
9 ½-by-13 ¾-inch work has an estimate of $500,000
to $700,000 and is quite pleasant. It was executed in 1880. It
sold for $511,500.
83 is a extremely fine
oil on canvas by Maurice Prendergast (1859-1924). Entitled Promenade,"
it is 19 by 42 inches and was painted in 1914-5. It has a modest
estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. This wonderful painting is a
property from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Leo S. Bing. It is
museum quality and sold for $1,911,500.
96 is a small but delectable
oil by Stuart Davis (1892-1964). Although it is only 10 by 14
inches, his abstract works hold up wonderfully and this comes
from the collection of Dorothy C. Miller, a very important curator
at the Museum of Modern Art, whose collection has been selling
very, very well this season. This has been in important exhibitions
and has a conservative estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It
sold for $623,500.
88, "Birch and
Pine Trees Pink," is an excellent Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986).
The 36-by-22-inch oil was painted in 1925 and has an estimate
of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. O'Keeffe is a little uneven in her
varied oeuvre, but this is very strong. It sold for
24, a very sweet
genre picture by Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), entitled "Little
Boy on a Stool," an oil on canvas that measures 8 3/4 by
6 3/4 inches sold within its estimate for $45,410.
of Danger," a quite adorable genre picture by Seymour Joseph
Guy (1824-1910), sold within its estimate for $$71,100. An oil
on canvas, it measures 20 by 16 inches and was once in the collection
of Mr. and Mrs. Julian Ganz Jr.
63, a stunning and
unusual watercolor by Childe Hassam (1859-1935) that was entitled
"Thunderstorm on the Oregon Trail" sold for $65,725
almost double its high estimate. It measures 16 1/2 by 22 inches.
Hassam, Lot 91,
"Autumn Landscape, East Hampton," sold for $220,300,
considerably over its high estimate of $150,000. An oil on canvass,
it measures 39 1/2 by 73 3/4 inches.
very striking work
by Armin Hansen (1886-1957), Lot 92, "Decoration," sold
within its estimate for $343,500. An oil on canvas, it measures
34 by 38 1/4 and the sailboat scene is quite reminiscent of the
style of Jonas Lie.