NEW YORK—A 1954–55 sketchbook of 52 pencil, crayon and ink drawings by Joan Mitchell was the highlight of Swann Galleries’ Nov. 18 sale of American and contemporary art, selling for $144,000, more than twice the $50,000/75,000 estimate. Consigned by a private collector, the work was purchased by a dealer in the saleroom who was “very determined,” according to Todd Weyman, Swann’s director of prints and drawings and the auctioneer for this sale. “From $60,000 on, there were two bidders, both dealers, the other one on the phone.”
Some of the sale’s higher-estimated lots met with resistance from buyers. In all, 236, or 74 percent, of the 321 lots in the sale found buyers, earning $1.1 million and falling just within the $1.1 million/1.6 million estimate.
There were many solid prices. Jim Dine’s charcoal drawing Visiting with Charcoal I, 1980,earned $24,000 (estimate: $10,000/15,000), while Andrew Wyeth’s pencil Study of Hands, 1955 (estimate: $15,000/20,000) and Karel Appel’sgouache Deux Oiseaux, 1958 (estimate: $10,000/15,000) both brought $22,800. Winslow Homer’s Spring: The Shepherdess of Houghton Farm, 1906, sold for $20,400 (estimate: $20,000/30,000), Keith Haring’s set of four color screenprints Pop Shop III, 1989, sold for $19,200 (estimate: $12,000/18,000) and Andy Warhol’s color screenprint Paramount, 1985, sold for $19,200 (estimate: $20,000/30,000).
Bought-in lots included Reginald Marsh’s ink and watercolor wash In the Surf, Coney Island, 1946 (estimate: $30,000/50,000) and his watercolor Manhattan Skyline with Brooklyn Bridge, 1929(estimate: $12,000/18,000).