NEW YORK—The Skinner Inc. auction of American and European paintings and prints on March 2 realized $2.2 million—close to the year-ago total of $2.6 million (ANL, 3/15/06, p. 7)—and near the high end of the $1.4/2.2 million presale estimate, with most works hitting their estimated marks. Of 725 lots on offer, 86 percent found buyers.
Some works sold well above estimate, including the top producers: Herman Herzog’s painting of a Florida waterway, Near the Outlet of Wassalassa River, fetched $127,000 (estimate: $30,000/50,000); Abram Efimovich Arkhipov’s Girl from Ryazon, $116,000 (estimate: $15,000/25,000); Lionel Walden’s Breaking Waves, a record $73,438 (estimate: $15,000/20,000); and an untitled picture
by Rodolfo Morales, $52,875 (estimate: $18,000/22,000).
An Andy Warhol lithograph, Queen Elizabeth II, produced $41,125, well above the $25,000 high estimate and the best price given for any of his “Queen” portraits, Skinner said. Two paintings byJane Peterson—Harbor View (estimate: $10,000/15,000) and Zinnias and Lilies (estimate: $8,000/12,000) earned $25,850 and $27,025, respectively; and two paintings by Italian artist Xavier Bueno, Girl with Flowers (estimate: $12,000/18,000) and Young Boy with a Bowl (estimate: $12,000/18,000) took $32,900 and $37,600, respectively.
Robin Starr, associate director of the American and European art department at Skinner, attributes the high prices for the Herzog and Walden paintings partly to their subject matter, observing that “Florida and Hawaiian subjects are hot right now.” She said there was “great competition” for Walden’s Breaking Waves, which several bidders presumed to have been a scene in Hawaii.
Some lots with lower estimates also drew winning bids that were higher than anticipated. Among them: Gustave Baumann’s 1946 woodcut Cotton Wood Tussels, won $16,450, more than triple the high $5,000 estimate; and George Loring Brown’s 1880s oil View of the Italian Coast made $14,000, double the high $7,000 estimate.
Several lots sold under their low estimates: An oil by Emile Albert Gruppe (1896-1978), Covered Bridge, Vermont, fell for $11,163, just below the $12,000 low estimate; and Alfred Thompson Bricher’s Farm Narragansett Pier (estimate: $60,000/80,000) brought $47,000. Laura Coombs Hills’ Bouquet of Flowers (estimate: $15,000/20,000) drew $11,163; and an etching, Nude Model and Sculptures (estimate: $20,000/30,000), from the “Vollard Suite” by Pablo Picasso, made $14,100.