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American Paintings

Sotheby's New York

10 A.M., May 21, 2014


Sale 9148

Bierstadt


Lot 45, "Yosemite," by Albert Bierstadt, oil on board, 15 by 21 inches, 1865

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction of American Paintings May 21, 2014 at Sotheby's New York is highlighted by superb works by Albert Bierstadt, John Twachtman, Edward Steichen, Richard Miller, Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Burchfield, Maxfield Parrish and Milton Avery.

Lot 45 is a good, small oil on board of "Yosemite" by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902).  It measures 15 by 21 inches and was painted in 1865.  It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $2,517,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

Of only 83 offered lots, 67 sold, a 80.7 percent sale, for $45,869,625.


Twachtman

Lot 75,  "Boats in Harbor," by John Twachtman, oil on board, 12 1/8 by 9 1/8 inches

Lot 75 is a superb small oil on board by John Twachtman (1853-1902), the most poetic of American Impressionists.  It is entitled "Boats in Harbor" and meausres 12 1/8 by 9 1/8 inches and it was included in the "Twachtman in Gloucester: His Last Years 1900-1902" exhibition at the Spanierman Gallery in 1987.  It has a modest estimate of $65,000 to $85,000.  It sold for $85,000.


Homer boys

Lot 37, "Youth of S. T. Preston," by Winslow Homer, watercolor and pencil on paper, 5 1/4 by 8 3/4 inches, 1879

Lot 37 is a charming watercolor and pencil on paper by Winslow Homer (1836-1910) entitled "Youth of S. T. Preston."  It measures 5 1/4 by 8 3/4 inches and was painted in 1879.  It was a gift from the artist to Samuel Thorndyke Preston of New York, the first cousin of the artist's sister-in-law with whom he would later share an apartment on Washington Square.  It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $389,000.


McCloskey


Lot 71, "Florida Lemons," by William J. McCloskey, oil on canvas, 11 by 24 inches, 1889

Lot 71 is a good fruit still life with wrapping tissue by William J. McCloskey (1859-1941).  Entitled "Florida Lemons," it is an oil on canvas that measures 11 by 24 inches and was painted in 1889.  It has an estimate of $85,000 to $120,000.  It failed to sell.


Steichen

Lot 24, "The Lotus Screen, S. S. S.," by Edward Steichen, oil on canvas, 24 inches square, 1909

Edward Steichn (1879-1973) iswidely regarded as one of America's greatest photographers but he was also a very good painter whose works usually were lyrical and misty.  Lot 24 , "The Lotus Screen S.S.S." is an oil on canvas by him that is 24 inches square.  It is dated 1909.  The painting depicts Selma Stieglitz Schubart, the youngest sister of Alfred Steiglitz, the great photographer who also ran an art gallery called 291 where this work was exhibited.  According to the catalogue's entry, "critics reacted positively to the painting's Matisse-like palette and the direct  intensity of the subject's gaze....Steichen reproduced the painting as a gravure in 1913, and it appeared in the June issue of Camera Work, the photographic journal edited and published by Steiglitz.  The lot has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $167,000.


Richard Miller


Lot 76, "Woman Seated at a Dressing Table," by Richard Edward Miller, oil on canvas, 34 by 36 inches, circa 1925


Perhaps the best painting in the auction is Lot 76, "Woman Seated at a Dressng Table," by Richard Edward Miller (1875-1943).  An oil on canvas, it measures 34 by 36 inches and was painted circa 1925.  The catalogue entry notes that the artist used the skirt shown in the panting in several other pictures.


Detail of Richard Miller work

Detail of Lot 75

The lot was an  estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It failed to sell.


Stuart Davis

Lot 22, "Study for 'Hot Still-Scape,'" by Stuart Davis, oil on canvas, 9 by 12 inches, 1940

Lot 22 is a oil on canvas study by Stuart Davis (1892-1964) for "Hot Still-Scape."  It measures 9 by 12 inches and  was painted in 1940.  It is property from the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is being sold to benefit the acquisitiions fund. It has been exhibited and published extensively.  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $605,000.


Avery trees


Lot 27, "Dancing Trees," by Milton Avery, oil on canvas, 32 by 48 inches, 1953

Lot 27 is a great oil on canvas by Milton Avery (1885-1965) entitled "Dancing Trees."  An oil on canvas, it measures 32 by 48 inches and was painted in 1953. The catalogue entry notes that after a heart attack in 1949, Avery concentrated more on "the harmony of the whole" replacing "the contrasting color areas typical of his work of the preceeding decades." This work has a very refined and lovely palette and the "dancing trees" are delightfully calligraphic.  It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $1,025,000.

Hammock by Avery

Lot 12, "March and Sally Outdoors," by Milton Avery, oil on canvas, 30 by 40 inches, 1950

Lot 12 is the back-cover illustration of the catalogue and a poor example of Avery's "contrasting color areas."  Entitled "March and Sally Outdoors," it is an oil on canvas that was painted in 1950.  It measures 30 by 40 inches.  The figures are his wife and daughter.  It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 and sold for $5,653.000, an auction record for the artist, even though it is about five times worse than Lot 27.


Avery Sun

Lot 9, "Ringed Sun," by Milton Avery, oil on paper, 17 by 22 inches, 1960


Lot 9 is another Avery that is entitled "Ringed Sun."  An oil on paper, it measures about 17 by 22 inches and was painted in 1960.  It has an estimate of
$150,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $269,000.



Norman Rockwell

Lot 17, "After the Prom," by Norman Rockwell, oil on canvas, 31 1/8 by 29 1/8 inches, 1957

Lot 17 is an oil on canvas by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) entitled "After the Prom."  It measures 31 1/8 by 29 1/8 inches and was painted in 1957 when it was a cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post.  It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It sold for $9,125,000.


Parish Bowler


Lot 49, "The Botanist,"  by Maxfield Parrish, ink and oil on paper cut out and mounted on panel, 18 3/4 by 12 3/4 inches, 1908

Lot 49 is an amusting work by Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) entitled "The Botanist."  It is an ink and oil on paper cut out  and mounted on panel.  It measures 18 3/4 by 12 3/4 inches and was painted in 1908.  It has been widely exhibited and published  It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120.000.  It sold for $161,000.



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