NEW YORK—An Oct. 25 sale of American and European paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture at Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers in Greenwich, Conn., realized $3.2 million—within the expected $3/3.8 million—for 277 lots on offer.
A higher-than-usual buy-in rate of 21 percent kept the final tally lower than hoped for, owner Gene Shannon told ARTnewsletter. “When something was good, people really paid for it,” Shannon reports, “but off the big names and the quality level, we took some buy-ins.”
An oil on canvas of a young man, Portrait of Bob [Elser], 1936, by Luigi Lucioni (1900-88), brought a hammer price of $153,600, the top price at the sale and a record for the artist (estimate: $80,000/120,000). According to Shannon, six bidders vied for the work up to the $100,000 mark, and three American museums competed to the end.
Other top prices realized: $96,000 apiece for paintings by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), for his Waterfall (estimate: $90,000/120,000), and for French artist Charles Chaplin (1825-91), for The Music Girl (estimate: $40,000/60,000); $78,000 for Herman Herzog’s Extensive Vista with Elk (estimate: $50,000/75,000); $66,000 for Jasper Francis Cropsey’s On the Hudson near Tappan Zee, 1890 (estimate: $30/50,000); and $60,000 for John George Brown’s 1884 Where’s My Penny? (estimate: $30,000/50,000). Another painting by Brown, entitled Little Girl with Her Doll, 1888, which was estimated at $50,000/75,000, failed to sell.
Perhaps the largest setback in the sale was an oil by J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951), The Speed God—it carried the highest estimate in the auction of $125,000/175,000 but had condition problems. On the positive side, a notable surprise was the $50,400 paid for Victor Vasarely’s 1950 oil Aiala, an early work by the artist that bore a modest $10,000/15,000 estimate.