NEW YORK—Christie’s mid-season sales of American paintings, drawings and sculpture, followed by Impressionist and modern art, both on Sept. 12, further highlighted the apparent firmness of the middle market. The American art sale realized $3.6 million for 232 lots offered; of these, 169, or 73 percent, found buyers. By value the auction was 87 percent sold.
The top lot was Charles Bird King’s oil-on-panel John Ridge, Cherokee Chief, 1825, which sold for more than nine times the $50,000 high estimate at $457,000. A George Copeland Ault watercolor, Village Roofs, 1937, brought $109,000, more than quadruple the $25,000 high estimate. And Luigi Lucioni’s Portrait of Paul Cadmus, 1928, won $91,000 (estimate: $15,000/25,000). Another strong price: the $55,000 realized for The Soul of the Sunflower: A Fireback, circa 1882, cast-iron panels by Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) that bore a $10,000/15,000 estimate.
The Impressionist and modern art sale fetched $4 million for 189 lots offered; of these, 171, or 90 percent, were sold. The top two lots, by Charmion von Weigand, were offered from the Hirschland collection, built by Ellen and Paul Hirschland. Each work made $133,000. One was a circa 1946-47 untitled oil on canvas estimated at $15,000/20,000; the second, a 1950-51 oil, Stone Vintage (Amethyst Evening, New York), had been estimated at $14,000/18,000. The price marked a new record for the artist.
Also drawing $133,000, from a European dealer, was a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin, Baigneuse Zoubaloff, conceived in 1888 and cast in 1944 (estimate: $40,000/60,000).
Jean-Pierre Cassigneul’s oil-on-canvas Le déjeuner sous l’arbre, 2005, fell for $109,000 (estimate: $60,000/80,000). Brooke Lampley, the specialist in charge of the sale, noted that the total scored a record for a mid-season sale.