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Modestly Priced Lots Lead The Day at Strong Skinner Sale

Skinner Inc.’s sale of American and European paintings on May 18 realized $1.9 million, just above the presale estimate of $1.1/1.7 million, for 478 lots on offer. Of these, 85 percent were sold.

NEW YORK—Skinner Inc.’s sale of American and European paintings on May 18 realized $1.9 million, just above the presale estimate of $1.1/1.7 million, for 478 lots on offer. Of these, 85 percent were sold.

A Richard Diebenkorn watercolor, Seated Woman in a Striped Skirt, 1964, was the top seller, taking $248,000 ($220,000 hammer price), and far exceeding the modest $15,000/25,000 estimate that the Boston auctioneer had placed on it.

The small, 17-by-12-inch work, which had been consigned from a private New England collection, fell to a New York City dealer who bid by phone. Even a slight tear in the paper failed to daunt the numerous bidders “who kept pushing the price higher and higher,” Colleen Fesko, director of Skinner’s American and European art department, told ARTnewsletter.

A work by Bucks County, Penn., artist George William Sotter (1879-1953), Winter Nocturne, outdistanced its $40,000/60,000 estimate to bring $193,000, while Italian modernist Giuseppe Santomaso’s 1956 oil Swept Out Space (estimate: $10,000/20,000) took $88,125. A painting by French painter Guillaume Seignac (1870-1924), Woman with a Red Floral Wreath (estimate: $25,000/35,000), fetched $76,375; and Jasper Francis Cropsey’s 1885 oil-on-canvas Looking Down the Ravine at Hastings (estimate: $75,000/100,000) drew $64,625.

As is often the case at Skinner auctions, some of the strongest prices were realized for modestly priced lots that attracted competitive bidding.

András Markó’s 1867 In the Countryside (estimate: $3,000/5,000) took $13,513; Hugues Merle’s 1873 Portrait of a Peasant Girl (estimate: $3,000/5,000) made $34,075; John Fulton Folinsbee’s Water in the Woods (estimate: $4,000/6,000) earned $35,250; and Alan Reynolds’ 1953 Small Fenscape (estimate: $12,000/18,000) fetched $43,475.

Markó’s painting fell to a fellow Hungarian collector, while the Reynolds “went back to London,” Fesko reports, adding that “the market is completely international.”

Among buy-ins with high price tags: a picture by J. Alden Weir (1852-1919) Hunting the Raccoon (estimate: $30,000/50,000); and Giverny par Vernon (estimate: $50,000/70,000) by Theodore Earl Butler (1860-1936).

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