One of only approximately eight pastels created by Childe Hassam between 1887 and 1889 while in Paris, At the Grand Prix had been in the same private collection for several decades. Estimated at $150,000 to $200,000, it sold for $699,000 at Skinner May 21st. This price marks the second highest price for a pastel paid at auction.
Skinner happily reports other paintings also did well.
Irving Ramsey Wiles’ A Walk Along the Harbor Shore, which descended within a New England family collection, was estimated at $50,000 to $75,000 and sold for $490,000, setting a world record. Another hit out of the park came from Yves Tanguy’s Un peu après (A Little Later).
The 1940 work had been hidden since the 1970s when it was last shown and came to Skinner from the estate of Mary Lee Ingbar of Cambridge, MA, who acquired it from her parents. Estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, it sold for $688,000.
According to Robin Starr, director of Fine Paintings at Skinner, “The success of last week’s sale was based on the fact that we had fantastic works of extremely high quality that were very fresh to the market. The Wiles, Tanguy and Hassam works had literally all been hidden away for decades. The quality of the material is reflective of our continued commitment to bring best-of-class material to auction.” Starr continued, “Independent of what’s going on in the market, this sale is evidence that great material will bring extraordinary prices.”
Two William Alexander works presented the biggest upsets, with one selling at nearly 100 times its estimate. A View of Part of the Great Wall of China, Called by the Natives Van-lee-ching, or Wall of Ten Thousand Lee, Taken Near the Pass of ‘Cou-Pe-Koo’ plate XXIV was estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, but sold for $100,725. Chinese Barges of the Embassy Preparing to Pass Under a Bridge plate XL from Sir George Staunton’s An Authentic Account of An Embassy from the King of Great, also estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, sold for $82,950. A word record and the second highest record were set respectively with the sale of these paintings.