November 16, 2018
10, "Cottonwood Tree in Spring," by Georgia O'Keeffe, oil on canvas, 30
by 36 inches, 1943
By Carter B. Horsley
November 16, 2018 auction at Sotheby's New York of American Art is
highlighted by a fine abstract landscape by Georgia O'Keeffe, two
great works by Thomas Moran, a good Edwin Hopper, and a superb Charles
It would have been a more impressive auction if Sotheby's had not
placed three important American paintings in the Contemporary Art
evening sale this season and two important American paintings in the
Impressionist Art evening sale this season. Although the
catalogue for this sale indicated their existence in the other sales
such a mixture of different genres is not intuitive or rational and is
very wrong-headed and confusing. Not all of such lots sold.
The most striking lot in this auction is Lot 10, "Cottonwood Tree in
Spring," by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), which was consigned,
inexplicably, by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. An oil on canvas,
it measures 30 by 36 inches and was painted in 1943. It was once
owned by the Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth and has been widely
published. It is the cover illustration for this auction's catalogue.
It has a modest estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for
$3,855,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in
The sale total was $44,101,950.
67, "Big Springs in Yellowstone Park," by Thomas Moran, watercolor and
gouache on paper, 9 1/2 by 19 1/2 inches, 1872
67 is a great and wonderful watercolor and gouache on paper of "Big
Springs in Yellowstone Park" by Thomas Moran (1837-1926).
It measures 9 1/2 by 19 1/2 inches. It was once owned by John F.
Eulich of Dallas and has been widely exhibited and published.
It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $1,995,000.
Lot 49, "The Last Arrow," by Thomas Moran, oil on canvas, 52 by 79
49 is a superb landscape oil on canvas by Thomas Moran entitled "The
Last Arrow." It measures 52 by 79 inches and was painted in
1867. It has been consigned, inexplicably, by the Berkshire
Museum. It was included in the 1945 Hudson River painting show at the
Whitney Museum of American Art and has been widely published.
The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:
"Set in the Adirondacks of northern New York, The Last Arrow depicts an
event from the history of seventeenth Century Canada - the abduction of
the Marquis de Frontenac's adopted daughter and her subsequent
rescue. According to the legend, the Marquis had adopted the
daughter of an Iroquois chief and raised her as his own child until she
was taken prisoner by the Mohawks during one of their many raids.
In 1670, a Dutchman named Van Holst who had spent time with the tribe
alerted the Marquis of the Mohawks' location and they embarked on an
expedition to retrieve his beloved daughter. Kendago, a Mohawk
Chief who had married the girl, hid her and their child in a mountain
cave. After realizing he had been betrayed by Van Holst, Kendago
followed Frontenac and his group to the cave. From a vantage
point high above, Kendago fired his symbolic final arrow at the
Marquis, which bounced off his armor and lodged in Van Holst's
The entry notes that that the presence of several human figures is
unusual in Moran's work.
The painting has an modest estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for $1,335,000.
Lot 44, "Indians Attacking a Wagon Train," by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze,
oil on canvas, 40 by 67 1/2 inches, 1863
44 is a large oil on canvas byEmanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816-1868) of
"Indians Attacking a Wagon Train." It measures 40 by 67 1/2
inches and was painted in 1863. It was consiged by the Dover Free
Public Library and has been widely exhibited.
It has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000. It sold for $4,815,000.
Lot 15, "Two Comedians," by Edward Hopper, oil on canvas, 29 by 40
15 is a large oil on canvas by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) entitled "Two
Comedians." It measures 29 by 40 inches and was painted in
It was once owned by Mr. and
Mrs. Frank Sinatra and has been widely exhibited and published.
The two figures are the artist and his wife, Jo.
It has an estimate of 12,000,000 to $18,000,000. It sold for $12,492,200.
Lot 6, "Related Forms II (Continuity 2)," by Charles Sheeler, tempera
on board, 10 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, 1957
6 is a great small tempera on board by Charles Sheeler
(1883-1965. It is entitled "Related Forms II (Continuity 2)," and
was created in 1957. It measures 10 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches. It
has included in the 1968-8 traveling exhibition on the artist that
included the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist
photographed that U.S.Steel blast furnaces in 1952 and reversed and
superimposed the negatives to make prints. The lot has a modest
estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $337,500.
Lot 56, "Yacht in a Cove, Gloucester," by Winslow Homer, watercolor on
paper, 10 by 13 3/4 inches, 1880
56 is a nice watercolor of a "Yacht in a Cove, Gloucester" by Winslow
Homer, a watercolor on paper executed in 1880. It measures 10 by
13 3/4 inches. It was once owned by John T. Dorrance Jr. and A.
Alfred Taubman. A similar watercolor is owned by the author of
this article. The lot has an estimate of $200,000 to
$300,000. It sold for $312,500.