One day after the Christie’s sale, Sotheby’s “American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture” sale obtained a similar result: $2,177,428 in total, 65.6% sold by lot, 77.5% sold by value.
The top lot is “Sailing at Twilight” by Francis Silva for $86,500. Henry Inman’s giant canvas of six children fetched a astonishing price of $62,500, exceeding its previous high estimate of $18,000.
According to the press release:
Jennifer Roth, Head of Fine Arts at Sotheby’s, said, “We saw today that, as always, quality works that are fresh to the market perform well, as evidenced by the excellent price achieved for the Francis Silva, lot 47, Sailing at Twilight, which brought the sale’s top price of $86,500 against an estimate of $40/60,000. Henry Inman’s striking early 19th century portrait depicting all six children of a prominent New York family sold for $62,500. William Henry Burr’s The Scissor Grinder, a charming genre scene, as well as works by Henry Bacon and JG Brown, also sold well. In general, works from the 19th Century fetched high prices, a shift from the last few years when we saw modernist works dominating the lists of top lots. All the same, two tall panels by the creator of the children’s book character “Madeleine”, Ludwig Bemelmans — one a view of Paris and one of Rome — attracted spirited bidding, each selling well above its high estimate. We saw strength in the Western market, particularly for the landscapes of Birger Sandzen and for western sculpture; bronzes by Remington, Humphriss and Kauba all exceeded their high estimates.”
On the same day, Christie’s “Important American Furniture, Folk Art and Prints” didn’t meet expectation with the top two lots: a Chippendale Mahogany Bombé Chest-of-Drawers (estimated between $500,000 – $800,000) and a hand-carved decoy (estimated $200,000 – $400,000) didn’t find a buyer. While I admired the Bombé chest, I didn’t expect a decoy bird displayed at the center of the showroom was one of the top lots. A similar one was sold for more than half a million dollars, but that was in the height of boom years (2007).