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American Paintings

Christie's New York

10 A.M., Nov. 19, 2014


Sale 2899

Bluemner


Lot 26, "Jersey Silkmills," by Oscar Bluemner, oil on canvas, 20 1/4 by 30 inches, circa 1917


By Carter B. Horsley

The November 19, 2014 American Art auction at Christie's New York is highlighted by a great painting by Oscar Bluemner and two other small works of his, some very good works by Georgia O'Keeffe including a very rare and very fine white-lacquered bronze sculpture, and some superb paintings by George Luks, Grant Wood, and William Merritt Chase.

The cover lot and the most striking work in the auction is Lot 26, "Jersey Silkmills," by Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938).  An oil on canvas, it measures 20 1/4 by 30 inches and was painted circa 1917.

The catalogue entry notes that "Demonstrating the bold use of color which earned him the nickname 'Vermillionaire,' Bleumner reduces and intensifies the secene into a dyamic kaleidoscape of interlapping geometric planes that incorporate his ever-evolving philosophies of art and, specifically, color.  Begun in 1911, Jersey Silkmills was considered by Bluemner to be his most important early painting, and it is a masterwork not only of his oeuvre, but of American Modernism."

It has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.  It sold for $3,749,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.  

The sale total was $46,543,000 with only 68 percent of the 156 offered lots selling and fine works by some Hudson River School and Western painters and artists such of John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase not selling.


Small Bluemner

Lot 35, "NRA," by Oscar Bluemner, watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, 8 1/4 by 11 inches, 1934

Bluemner's works rarely appear at auction.  There are three in this sale.  

The second of these is Lot 35, "NRA," a watercolor, gouache and ink on paper that measures 8 1/4 by 11 inches.  It was painted in 1934 and its vibrant colors make it appear much larger than its actual size.  It has an estimate of $700,000 to $1,000,000.  It failed to sell.


Bluemner house

Lot 30, "A Moment in Another Town," by Oscar Bluemner, oil on panel, 8 by 10 inches, 1929

The third Bluemner painting is Lot 30, "A Moment in Another Town," an oil on panel that measures 8 by 10 inches and was painted in 1929.  

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"In contrast to the geometric planes and grid-like constructons that characterize Bluemner's earlier paintings, the architectural forms in the present work are softer and more sensusal and expressive.  The buildings as well as the figure and foreground are articulated not by definite lines but by adjacency of color masses.  These color fields have subtle tonal inflections, creating a sense of space entirely through composition and contrasting hues.."

It was offered at Sotheby's in the spring of 2005 when it had a modest estimate of $60,000 to $80,000 and sold for $340,800.

The lot this time has a modest estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.  It failed to sell.

O'Keeffe lilies

Lot 32, "Calla Lillies," by Georgia O'Keeffe, oil on canvas, 16 1/4 by 12 1/4 inches, 1924

Lot 32 is a lovely floral abstraction by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) entitled "Calla Lillies."  An oil on canvas, it measures 16 1/4 by 12 1/4 inches and was painted in 1924.  It was once in the collection of Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand.  It has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.   The artist attributed her interest in the subject to Marsden Hartley in his great still life painting that is reproduced in the catalogue and is in the collection of the Frderick R. Weisman Art Museujm at the Univeristy of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  This lot sold for $3,301,000.


O'Keeffe yellow


Lot 39, "Hills and Mesa to the West," by Georgia O'Keeffe, oil on canvas, 19 by 36 inches, 1945

Lot 39 is a good Western landscape by O'Keeffe, entitled "Hills and Mesa to the West."  An oil on canvas, it measures 19 by 36 inches and was painted in 1945.  It has been widely exhbited and published.  It has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.  It sold for $3,749,000.

O'Keeffe sculpture


Lot 36, "Abstraction," by Georgia O'Keeffe, white-lacquered bronze, 36 inches high, modeled in 1946 and cast circa 1980, from an edition of four

Lot 36 is a marvelous white-lacquered bronze sculpture entitled "Abstraction" by Georgia O'Keeffe.  It is 36 inches high and was modeled in 1946 and cast in an edition of four circa 1980. Far better finished than most of her floral paintings and more impressive, it is one of only three sculptural motifs she created in her career. It has a modest estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $1,061,000.


Luks children

Lot 92, "In the Corner," by George Luks, oil on board laid down on board, 48 by 36 1/2 inches, circa 1921

Lot 92 is a good painting by George Luks (1867-1933) entitled "In the Corner."  An oil on board laid down on board, it measures 48 by 36 1/2 inches and was painted circa 1921.  It is property of the Westervelt Company.  It has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $785,000.




Henri


Lot 91, "Boby," by Robert Henri, oil on canvas, 24 1/4 by 20 1/4 inches, 1921

Lot 91 is a very fine portrait of a young girl called "Boby" by Robert Henri (1865-1919).  An oil on canvas, it measures 24 1/4 by 20 1/4 inches and was painted in 1921.  It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $461,000.


Wood camp

Lot 14, "Study for Dinner for Threshers," by Grant Wood, charcoal, pencil and chalk on brown paper laid down on paper, 18 by 72 inches, 1934

Lot 14 is a very fine "Study for Dinner for Threshers" by Grant Wood (1891-1942).  A charcoal, pencil and chalk on brown paper laid down on paper, it measures 18 by 72 inches and was painted in 1972.  It is property from the estate of Stanley Resor and was been widely exhibited and published.  The final painting is in the collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.  The lot has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000.  It sold for $1,565,000.

Du Boix

Lot 97, "The Diners," by Guy Pene du Bois, oil on canvas, 20 1/4 by 24 1/4 inches, 1933

Lot 97 is a good oil on canvas by Guy Pene du Bois (1884-1958).  Entitled "The Diners," it measures 20 1/4 by 24 1/4 inches and was painted in 1933.  It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $221,000.


Hopper

Lot 33, "Railroad Embankment," by Edward Hopper, gouache and watercolor on paper, 14 by 20 inches,1932

Lot 33 is a nice gouache and watercoloor on paper by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) entitled "Railroad Embankment."  It measures 14 by 20 inches and was painted in 1932 and was included in the artist's retrospective exhibition the next year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  It has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000.  It sold for $1,445,000.


Stuart Davis


Lot 24, "The Blues," by Stuart Davis, gouache, crayon and ink on paperboard, 11 3/4 by 9 1/4 inches, 1925

Lot 24 is an atypical painting by Stuart Davis (18992-1964) entitled "The Blues."  A gouache, crayon and ink on paperboard, it measures 11 3/4 by 9 1/4 inches and was painted in 1925.  It was once in the collections of Mrs. Will Durant and Edith Gregor Halpert. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $221,000.


Sargent

Lot 82, "Corner of a Garden," by John Singer Sargent, oil on panel, 14 by 10 1/4 inches, circa 1880

Lot 82 is a very impressionistic and fine oil on panel by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925).  Entitled "Corner of a Garden," it measures 14 by 10 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1880.  It is property of the Westervelt Company.  It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It failed to sell.

White Dress by Chase

Lot 86, "Portrait of the Artist's Daughter (Dorothy)," by William Merritt Chase, oil on canvas, 35 1/2 by 25 1/2 inches, circa 1897

Lot 86 is a very fine and wonderful "Portrait of the Artist's Daughter (Dorothy)" by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916).  An oil on canvas, it measures 35 1/2 by 25 1/2 inches and was painted circa 1897.  It is property of the Westervelt Company and has been widely published and exhibited.  It has a modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It failed to sell!


Lafarge

Lot 85, "Apple Blossoms," by John La Farge, watercolor on paper, 9 1/4 by 12 inches, circa 1883


Lot 85 is a very nice watercolor on paper by John La Farge (1835-1910) entitled "Apple Blossoms."  It measures 9 1/4 by 12 inches and was painted circa 1883.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It failed to sell.

Prendergast

Lot 69, "St. Malo," by Maurice Prendergast, watercolor and pencil on paper, 13 1/4 by 20 inches, circa 1907

Lot 69 is a good watercolor and pencil on paper by Maurice Prendergast (1859-1924).  It measures 13 1/4 by 20 inches and was painted circa 1907.  It was once owned by Arthur B. Davies and Mrs. Stanley Resor of New York.  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It failed to sell.



Frieseke

Lot 75, "La Poudreuse (Woman Selecting a Necklace)," by Frederick Carl Friesekek oil on canvas, 32 inches square, 1913

Lot 75, "La Poudreuse (Woman Selecting a Necklace," is a gorgeous oil on canvas by Frederick Carl Frieseke.  It is 32 inches square and was painted in 1913.  It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.  It sold for $581,000.

Rittman


Lot 70, "An Improvised Flower Basket," by Louis Ritman, oil on canvas, 36 1/4 inches square

Lot 70 is a ravishing oil on canvas by Louis Ritman (1889-1963) entitled "An Improvised Flower Basket."  It is 36 1/4 inches square.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It sold for $665,000.


Mellen

Lot 123, "Ship at Sea," by Mary Blood Mellen, oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches

Lot 123 is a very fine seascape by Mary Blood Mellen (1817-1882) one of the nation's few very competent 19th Century painters.  Entitled "Ship at Sea," it is an oil on canvas that measures 24 by 36 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  It sold for $37,500.


Bradford


Lot 132, "Fishing Off the Coast of Labrador," by William Bradford, oil on canvas, 28 by 48 inches, 1880

Lot 132 is a classic iceberg scene by William Bradford (1823-1892) entitled "Fishing Off The Coast of Labrador."  An oil on canvas, it measures 28 by 48 inches and was painted in 1880.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It sold for $257,000.

Whittredge

Lot 128, "Indians on the Platte River," by Thomas Worthington Whittredge, oil on board, 11 1/2 by 24 inches, 1886

Lot 128 is a fine Western scend by Thomas Worthington Whittredge entitled "Indians on the Platte River."  An oil on board, it measures 11 1/2 by 24 inches and was painted in 1886.


Whittredge detail

Detail of Lot 128


It has an estimate of  $200,000 to $300,000.  It failed to sell.


Hill landscape

Lot 133, "View in the Sierra Nevadas," by Thomas Hill, oil on canvas, 18 by 34 inches, 1869

Lot 133 is a superb Western landscape by Thomas Hill (1829-1908) entitled "View in the Sierra Nevadas."  An oil on canvas, it measures 18 by 34 inches and was painted in 1869.  It has a modest estimate of $70,000 to $90,000.  It failed to sell.


Gifford

Lot 124, "Hook Mountain near Nyack, New York," by Sanford Robinson Gifford, oil on canvas, 16 by 14 inches

Lot 124 is a fine small oil on canvas by Sanforrd Robinson Gifford (1823-1880).   Entitled "Hook Mountain near Nyack, New York," it measures 16 by 14 inches.  It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.  It failed to sell.

Gifford beach

Lot 129, "Manchester, Massachusetts," by Sanford Robinson Gifford, oil on canvas, 10 1/4 by 19 1/4 inches


Another Gifford, Lot 129, is a beach scene at "Manchester, Massachusetts."  An oil on canvas, it measures 10 1/4 by 19 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $700,000 to $1,000,000.  It failed to sell.


Catlin

Lot 136, "Batiste is run over, and loses his bouillion in the Nishnabottana meadows," by George Catlin, oil on canvas, 19 by 26 1/4 inches, circa 1848

Lot 136, "Batiste is run over, and loses his bouillion in the Nishnabottana meadows," is a dashing Western scene by George Catlin (1796-1872).  An oil on canvas, it measures 19 by 26 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1848.  It was once in the Anschutz Collection in Denver.  It has an estiamte of $250,000 to $350,000.  It failed to sell.

Vedder nude

Lot 73, "Heart of the Rose," by Elihu Vedder, pastel and charcoal on joined paper, 13 1/2 inches square, 1898


Lot 73 is a fine pastel and charcoal on joined paper entitled "Heart of the Rose" by Elihu Vedder (1836-1923).  It is 13 1/2 inches square and was painted in 1898.  It has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  It failed to sell.

Parrish

Lot 72, "Land of Make-Believe," by Maxfield Parrish, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 by 32 1/4 inches, 1905

Lot 72 is an excellent oil on canvas by Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) entitled "Land of Make-Believe."  It measures 40 1/4 by 32 1/4 inches and was painted in 1905.  It has been widely published.  It has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000.  It sold for $3,525,000.



Wetherell

Lot 58, "Snug Harbor," by Elisha Kent Kane Wetherill, oil on canvas, 40 by 36 inches, 1916

Lot 58 is a lovely townscape entitled "Snug Harbor" by Elisha Kent Kane Wetherill (1874-1929).  An oil on canvas, it measures 40 by 36 inches and was painted in 1916.  The artist studied with Thomas Anschutz and James Abbott Macneil Whistler.  The lot has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.  It failed to sell.

Garber

Lot 59, "Reflections," by Daniel Garber, oil on canvas, 36 by 40 inches, circa 1940

Lot 59 is a masterful landscape by Daniel Garber entitled "Reflections."  An oil on canvas, it measures 36 by 40 inches and was painted circa 1940.  It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.  It sold for $365,000.


Rockwell paper

Lot 49, "Willie Gillis: Hometown News," by Norman Rockwell, oil on canvas, 39 1/4 by 31 1/4 inches, 1942

Lot 49 is a unusually vibrant oil on canvas by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) entitled "Willie Gillis: Hometown News."  It measures 39 1/4 by 31 1/4 inches and was painted in 1942 and was the cover illustration of The Saturday Evening Post April 11, 1942.  It has an estiamte of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $4,197,000.


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