NEW YORK—Christie’s midseason sale of American art on March 1 realized $4.2 million for 202 lots offered. Of these, 147, or 71 percent, found buyers. By value, the sale realized 81 percent, and several records were set for artists, including Max Weber, Ben Shahn, Francis Criss and Arthur Lee. Kayla Carlson, said it marked the highest total ever for a midseason sale in this category.
Weber’s Cubist-style bronze sculpture, Figure in Rotation, 1915, was the highest lot, bringing a record $218,500, on an estimate of $200,000/300,000.
A new record was achieved for Shahn when his watercolor and gouache titled Hamilton Fish Park, 1940, sold for $158,500, far higher than the $25,000/35,000 estimate.
Similarly, Criss’s oil on canvas Untitled (Cityscape), 1938, was given a modest estimate of $10,000/15,000, but soared to $134,500 and was bought by a private collector.
The new record for Lee was achieved when Volupté, 1915, a white marble sculpture of a nude female torso, soared to $92,500 on an estimate of $12,000/18,000. The work was being sold from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in order to benefit its acquisition fund.
The auction also featured its fair share of blue chip works by top-selling American artists, including Milton Avery, Stuart Davis and N.C. Wyeth.
Avery’s oil on board Bouquet, 1949, sold to a U.S. dealer for $194,500, more than double the $50,000/70,000 estimate, while Davis’s Mountains and Molehills, 1915, an oil on canvas, sold for $158,500, within the estimate of $120,000/180,000.
Wyeth’s oil titled ‘It Was Such a Warm Little House, There,’ Said She, Huskily, 1905, sold above the high $100,000 estimate, for $152,500.