Highest American Paintings Sale Total in Christie's History Today’s record $71.3 million sale of Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture was the highest total ever-achieved for a Christie’s sale in the category.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,2007 - $71.3 Million Sale Total Includes 20 Paintings In Excess of $1 Million
Christie’s Continues To Lead the Market With A Season Total of $78.8 Million
New York - Today’s record $71.3 million sale of Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture was the highest total ever-achieved for a Christie’s sale in the category. Capping off an outstanding year for the Christie’s American Paintings department, today’s sale result, when combined with the Los Angeles and mid-season New York auctions, brings the Fall 2007 American Painting’s season total to $78.8 million. Re-confirming Christie’s leadership in the field, the auction featured 20 works that realized in excess of $1 million, and 21 records were set during the proceedings.
Eric Widing, Head of American Paintings at Christie’s, says: “Christie’s achievement of a new record sales total and market share in the American Paintings field in 2007 marks a milestone for the department. Through the team’s hard work and with the support of our sellers and buyers, we have achieved a position as the biggest art selling entity in the American Paintings field.”
Today’s sale offered the most important collection of American Western art to appear on the market for a generation, masterworks by American Impressionists, images from 20th century masters and a charming depiction of Santa Claus by Norman Rockwell.
Over $20 million of Western art was sold during the auction, led by Frederic Remington’s The Signal (If Skulls Could Speak) which sold for $4.41 million. Representing a classic theme of his art, the image depicts a Native American on a rearing horse, and nearby a buffalo skull provides a poignant reminder of the fate of Native Americans in the West. Two major Remington bronzes achieved high prices, including ‘The Cheyenne’, which fetched $3.18 million. This famous cast depicts a horse and rider in mid-stride. Also sold was Remington’s iconic Broncho Buster bronze, perhaps his best known image of the West, depicting a cowboy on a bucking horse. It achieved $2.62 million.
American 20th century masters were well-represented in today’s sale, including the top lot of the day, Andrew Wyeth’s The Intruder from 1971, which realized an exceptional $5.75 million, above the highest pre-sale expectations and the second highest auction price ever for the artist. Painted in 1971 on the Goose River in Maine, the work captures the haunting realism of Wyeth’s greatest accomplishments in the tempera medium which have made him one of the most enduring figures in American art.
A shimmering Childe Hassam, Sunset at Sea, from The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, led the day’s American Impressionist works, totaling $3.74 million. The painting presents an expansive panorama in an almost abstract composition, and is a brilliant display of Hassam’s Impressionist technique.
Finally, a much-loved image of Saint Nick from America’s most-celebrated 20th century illustrator, Norman Rockwell, appeared in the auction. Entitled Extra Good Boys and Girls, the work first appeared as the cover for The Saturday Evening Post’s December 1939 issue. It sold today for $2.17 million.