NEW YORK—Christie’s American art sale on Sept. 27 took in $3.5 million for 208 lots offered. Of these, 133, or 64 percent, found buyers. By value, the auction was 79 percent sold.
The top lot was Milton Avery’s Porch View, ca. 1945, that doubled expectations when it sold for $158,500 compared with an estimate of $60,000/80,000. It was followed by a Norman Rockwell oil on canvas, Girl in Spanish Costume, ca. 1930, that sold for $134,500, clearing the $80,000/120,000 estimate.
Christie’s specialist and head of the sale, Kayla Carlsen, noted that the two top lots both sold to online bidders. Carlsen said online bidders were exceptionally active throughout the sale, noting that one in five lots went to online buyers.
A surprise of the sale was the $134,500 final price given by a U.S. dealer for a Thomas Eakins oil on panel, Mrs. Samuel Hall Williams (Abigail Swing), compared with a relatively modest estimate of $8,000/12,000. The work was sold by order of the board of trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, according to the Christie’s catalogue.
Other top lots included an oil by Guy Wiggins, New York, 1929, which sold for $128,500 on a $60,000/80,000 estimate to New York’s Questroyal Galleries and Anna Mary “Grandma” Robertson Moses’s Landscape with a Mill, 1933, which realized $80,500 on an estimate of $30,000/50,000.
Two bronze sculptures by Gaston Lachaise figured in the top lots at prices well above estimates. These included Mask of Marie Pierce, 1925, which sold for $74,500 (estimate: $20,000/30,000), and Bas-relief (Woman), ca. 1913, which also sold for $74,500 on an estimate of $12,000/18,000.