NEW YORK—A 1945 egg tempera painting, Siren, by Jared French was the focus of furious bidding and, ultimately, the top seller at the two-part Swann Galleries sale of American and contemporary art on June 9. The work fetched $138,000 including buyer’s premium, exceeding the auction house’s $70,000/100,000 estimate.
The sale totaled $1.5 million, missing the estimate of $1.78 million/2.76 million; 315, or 80 percent, of the 396 lots found buyers.
Although a number of the higher-estimated lots either underperformed or failed to sell, the auction did produce some notable prices, such as Mary Nimmo Moran’s oil Long Island Landscape, 1880, which realized $64,800, against an estimate of $10,000/15,000, a record price for the artist, and Thomas Hart Benton’s ca.1922–24 oil on paper Landscape, Martha’s Vineyard, which sold for $60,000, topping the estimate of $30,000/50,000.
A color screenprint by Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1972, sold for $45,600, compared with an estimate of $25,000/35,000, and Alexander Calder’s gouache on paper Loops on Gray and Red, 1968, sold for $40,800, within the estimate of $30,000/50,000. Richard Hamilton’s color screenprint I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas, 1971, sold for $28,800 (estimate: $25,000/35,000), while Ogden Pleissner’s undated watercolor Rail Shooting on the Connecticut River, took $26,400 (estimate:$20,000/30,000) and Charles Burchfield’s pen and ink with watercolor Fallen Tree, 1944–54, sold for $20,400 (estimate: $15,000/20,000).
Bidding was strong for Warhol’s color screenprint Cow, 1976, which fetched $21,600, well above the $6,000/9,000 estimate.
Lots that sold despite missing their estimates included Fernando Botero’s ca.1960–70 oil Figure in Profile with Yellow Hat, which sold for $33,600 on an estimate of $40,000/60,000; Cy Twombly’s color offset lithograph Roman Notes III, 1970, which sold for $18,000 against an estimate of $20,000/30,000; Jasper Johns’s color lithograph, No, 1968-9, sold for $10,200 (estimate: $12,000/18,000) and Guy Pene du Bois’s oil on panel Portrait of a Cavalier, 1916, sold for $7,800, compared with an estimate of $12,000/18,000.
Among the lots that were bought in were two gouaches by Milton Avery, Sun Worshiper, ca. 1932, and Seated Man, n.d., both estimated at $30,000/50,000, and Sam Francis’s acrylic on paper From Tokyo #3, 1970 (estimate: $30,000/50,000).