Rockwell Kent (American, 1882-1971), Polar Expedition, 1944, oil on canvas 34 x 44 inches (86.4 x 111.8 cm). Estimate: $200,000 – $300,000. Sold: $605,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions
American Art records shattered at Heritage Auctions as Evening Post Covers made auction historic prices
DALLAS – A Saturday Evening Post cover by Joseph Christian Leyendecker has sold for $365,000 at Heritage Auctions. Titled Thanksgiving, 1628-1928: 300 Years Pilgrim and Football Player, the cover which is arguably the finest of Leyendecker’s Saturday Evening Post covers set a new record and led Heritage Auctions more than $7.8 million American art auction event in Dallas.
Heritage Auctions American art sale held recently featured a rich selection of paintings and sculpture across several periods. During the American art auction, 15 auction records were set for artists whose works engendered intense bidding from collectors. “Heritage set records for 15 artists and produced outstanding results for several others – a truly remarkable achievement,” said Aviva Lehmann, Director of American Art at Heritage Auctions.
Leyendecker’s painting led the auction’s exceptional grouping of Illustration Art which included Newell Convers Wyeth’s masterpiece When He Was Fourteen, Michael Strogoff Had Killed His First Bear, Quite Alone, 1927. The oil on canvas measuring 40 x 30-1/4 inches (101.6 x 76.8 cm), captures a fearless young man engaging a huge bear. The painting sold for $269,000. Waiting at the Doctor’s Office, by Norman Rockwell, originally commissioned in 1952 as an advertisement, sold for $87,500, while Frederick Stanley’s Halloween Scare, The Saturday Evening Post cover, Nov. 2, 1935, sold for $56,250, a record for the artist.
One of the major highlights of the Heritage Auctions American art auction is Rockwell Kent’s Polar Expedition, 1944. The oil on canvas painting measuring 34 x 44 inches (86.4 x 111.8 cm) realized $605,000, doubling the artist’s previous auction record. Victor Higgins’s The White Gate, 1919, also made great impact at the American art auction. The oil on canvas measuring 18-1/8 x 20-1/4 inches (46.0 x 51.4 cm) features several mysterious female figures shrouded in shawls or thick blankets standing in from of Pueblo compound. The painting sold for $461,000.
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Taos Indian Chief, an oil on canvas laid on board measuring 16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 cm) by Ernest Leonard Blumenschein captures a Taos Indian Chief in a profile wearing his colorful headdress. Also known as Indian Profile with Red Bonnet and Indian with Headdress, the painting drew several collectors to a contest and eventually sold for $389,000.
Peasant Girl by Nicolai Fechin engendered a bidding war when 14 bidders contested to win the Taos masterpiece for their collections. The oil on canvas measuring 16 x 13 inches (40.6 x 33.0 cm) is a great example of the humanistic and expressionistic portraiture that distinguished Nicolai Fechin within the Taos art colony. The painting made its auction debut at Heritage after remaining in the same family for decades. Texan Johnie (Mrs. H.S.) Griffin, who summered in Ranchos de Taos, befriended Fechin’s wife, Alexandra (Tinka), and purchased from Fechin this painting, as well as other works. The painting realized $317,000, more than three times the artwork’s pre-auction estimate.
Commenting on the auction, Lehmann notes that the auction record prices are not only encouraging but also show important trend in the auction of American art. She explained that “This is the second auction in a row that we’ve seen these results and we fully intend to keep the momentum moving forward.”
Additional highlights of the American art sale including Saturday Evening Post covers:
1. Frederick Stanley: Halloween Scare, The Saturday Evening Post cover, Nov. 2, 1935. Realized $56,250, a record for the artist.
2. Joseph Christian Leyendecker: Going South, The Saturday Evening Post cover for October 19, 1935. Realized $137,000.
3. Joseph Christian Leyendecker: The Voice in the Rice, an illustration for a Saturday Evening Post story for June-July 1909. Realized $143,000
4. John Marin: Lighthouse, Stonington, Maine, 1921, love letter to Maine’s rugged outcrops. Realized $209,000.
5. George Wesley Bellow: Storm Sea, 1913, a magnum opus. Realized $161,000.
6. Rockwell Kent: Golden Fall, circa 1955, a deeply personal view of the Adirondack Mountains from “Asgaard,” his own farm near Au Sable Forks. Realized $137,000
7. Leroy Neiman: Manhattan Panorama, 1980-1984. Realized $137,000
8. Leroy Neiman: Aspen Mountain Rendezvous, 2001. Realized $81,250
9. Alexander Harrison: Le Grand Miroir. Realized $75,000
11. Kenyon Cox: May, 1980. Realized $55,000.
12. Abbott Handerson Thayer: Water Lilies. Realized: $75,000.
13. Charles Ephraim Burchfield: Country School House in Winter, 1918. Realized: $55,000.
14. William Herbert Dunton: Battery of the U.S. Field Artillery Going into Action. Realized: $52,500, against a $15,000 estimate.
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