Lambertville, NJ: Rago Arts and Auction Center's May Fine Art Auctions realized $2,700,499 in sales on Saturday, May 5. The highest price achieved by a single lot went to Lot 540, Still Life with Pitcher by American artist Arshile Gorky, which sold for $175,000 against an estimate of $50,000- 70,000. The lot was part of the Post War & Contemporary Art sale, which realized $1,761,469 in sales and an impressive showing from works of Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism, as well as the work of female artists.
Pop Art highlights from the segment include Lot 687, Andy Warhol’s Bald Eagle from Endangered Species Portfolio, which sold for $81,250; Lot 503, Warhol’s Campbell's Tomato Soup, which sold for $50,000 against a high estimate of $30,000; Lot 500, Roy Lichtenstein’s Moonscape from 11 Pop Artists I, which sold for $20,000; Lot 623, Snow Without Color by David Hockney, which surpassed the high estimate of $15,000 to achieve $20,000; Lot 517, Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) by Andy Warhol, which realized $18,750; and Lot 728, Keith Haring’s Pop Shop Quad III, which brought in $15,000.
Abstract works saw strong prices across the board. Highlights include Lot 520, Rangely by Kenneth Noland, which soared past the high estimate of $15,000 to achieve $43,750; Lot 721, a work in two parts by Sandro Chia, which brought $40,625; Lot 635, a 7-foot tall open column from Ilya Bolotowsky, which sold for $36,250; Lot 541, another work by Arshile Gorky, which sold for $23,750; Lot 833, an oil on linen from Louise Fishman, which sold for $15,000 - more than four times the high estimate of $3,500; and Lot 539, and untitled oil on canvas from Abstract pioneer Giorgio Cavallon which brought in $13,750.
Results worth noting for work by female artists include Lot 568, an untitled mixed media box by Lenore Tawney, which shattered the estimate of $4,000-6,000 to sell for $25,000; Lot 536, an untitled still life by Alma Thomas, which sold for $15,000; and Lot 576, Elaine de Kooning’s untitled oil on canvas, which achieved $15,000 – three times the high estimate.
Rago’s session of American and European art also included several fine works that surpassed expectations and soared past estimates, notably Lot 10, Winslow Homer’s Dutch Door, which sold for $137,500 against an estimate of $30,000-50,000, making it the top lot of the segment. Works of French Impressionism performed well, including Lot 14, an oil on canvas from Gustave Loiseau which sold for $87,500 against a high estimate of $80,000; Lot 17, Femme dans les Bois by Henri Baptiste Lebasque, which sold for more than four times the high estimate to achieve $59,375; and Lot 24 by Jean Dufy, which sold for $43,750.
Several sculptures performed particularly well, including Lot 40, Tortoise (for the Rainey Gates, Bronx Zoo), by Paul Howard Manship, which exceeded the high estimate to sell for $37,500; Lot 5, Archery Lesson by Cyrus Edwin Dallin, which sold for $21,250; Lot 19, Maurice Guiraud-Riviere’s La Comete, which sold for $21,250; and Lot 18, a bronze work by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, assistant of Auguste Rodin, which sold for $16,250.
Additional highlights include Lot 50, an untitled watercolor by John Whorf, which sold for $17,500, nearly three times the high estimate; Lot 11, an untitled pastel on paper by Joaquim Sunyer that sold for nearly ten times the high estimate of $1,800 to achieve $16,250; Lot 53, a watercolor from Henry Martin Gasser that sold for $11,250 against an estimate of $1,000-1,500; and Lot 99, an untitled watercolor landscape by Peter Sculthorpe which realized a price of $10,625 against an estimate of $4,000-6,000.
"I’m thrilled with the enthusiasm surrounding our May sales. We saw spirited bidding for works from every decade and price point. Privately held and highly coveted, paintings by Winslow Homer and Arshile Gorky stole the show."
- Meredith Hilferty, Director of Fine Art
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