ARTnewsletter Archive

Ups and Downs at Swann American and Contemporary Art Sale

A 1945 egg tempera painting, Siren, by Jared French was the focus of furious bidding and, ultimately, the top seller at the two-part Swann Galleries sale of American and contemporary art on June 9.

NEW YORK—A 1945 egg tempera painting, Siren, by Jared French was the focus of furious bidding and, ultimately, the top seller at the two-part Swann Galleries sale of American and contemporary art on June 9. The work fetched $138,000 including buyer’s premium, exceeding the auction house’s $70,000/100,000 estimate.

The sale totaled $1.5 million, missing the estimate of $1.78 million/2.76 million; 315, or 80 percent, of the 396 lots found buyers.

Although a number of the higher-estimated lots either underperformed or failed to sell, the auction did produce some notable prices, such as Mary Nimmo Moran’s oil Long Island Landscape, 1880, which realized $64,800, against an estimate of $10,000/15,000, a record price for the artist, and Thomas Hart Benton’s ca.1922–24 oil on paper Landscape, Martha’s Vineyard, which sold for $60,000, topping the estimate of $30,000/50,000.

A color screenprint by Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1972, sold for $45,600, compared with an estimate of $25,000/35,000, and Alexander Calder’s gouache on paper Loops on Gray and Red, 1968, sold for $40,800, within the estimate of $30,000/50,000. Richard Hamilton’s color screenprint I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas, 1971, sold for $28,800 (estimate: $25,000/35,000), while Ogden Pleissner’s undated watercolor Rail Shooting on the Connecticut River, took $26,400 (estimate:$20,000/30,000) and Charles Burchfield’s pen and ink with watercolor Fallen Tree, 1944–54, sold for $20,400 (estimate: $15,000/20,000).

Bidding was strong for Warhol’s color screenprint Cow, 1976, which fetched $21,600, well above the $6,000/9,000 estimate.

Lots that sold despite missing their estimates included Fernando Botero’s ca.1960–70 oil Figure in Profile with Yellow Hat, which sold for $33,600 on an estimate of $40,000/60,000; Cy Twombly’s color offset lithograph Roman Notes III, 1970, which sold for $18,000 against an estimate of $20,000/30,000; Jasper Johns’s color lithograph, No, 1968-9, sold for $10,200 (estimate: $12,000/18,000) and Guy Pene du Bois’s oil on panel Portrait of a Cavalier, 1916, sold for $7,800, compared with an estimate of $12,000/18,000.

Among the lots that were bought in were two gouaches by Milton Avery, Sun Worshiper, ca. 1932, and Seated Man, n.d., both estimated at $30,000/50,000, and Sam Francis’s acrylic on paper From Tokyo #3, 1970 (estimate: $30,000/50,000).

  • Issues