Henry Koerner’s Under the Overpass realizes $252,000 at John Moran Auctioneers’ June 14th American A An important work by acclaimed Austrian / American painter Henry Koerner (1915 – 1991) realized $252,000, the second-highest price achieved at auction for the artist, at John Moran Auctioneers’ June 1
News-Antique.com - Jun 30,2011 - Pasadena, CA-- An important work by acclaimed Austrian / American painter Henry Koerner (1915 – 1991) realized $252,000, the second-highest price achieved at auction for the artist, at John Moran Auctioneers’ June 14th California and American Art Auction. Arriving at auction from the private collection of friends of the artist, the painting generated significant pre-sale interest. Principal Auctioneer John Moran opened the bidding at $50,000, well below the pre-sale estimate of $100,000 – 150,000, and quickly advanced the price as two telephone bidders and a floor bidder engaged in battle. The determined floor bidder, who never hesitated, ultimately prevailed. The result underlines Moran’s success with post-war artworks in recent years.
A poignant autobiographical work and a profound meditation on death and transience, Under the Overpass is a work of far-reaching significance. The meticulously detailed narrative relates the deportation of the artist’s parents to a Nazi concentration camp and their subsequent murder. Dating from Koerner’s Magic Realist phase of 1948- 49 and employing several of his favorite symbols and technical devices, the oil displays the heights of Koerner’s technical mastery.
The sale’s other notable results for post-war paintings include a 1952 oil by Mentor Huebner (1917 – 2001 Los Angeles, CA) titled Love Affair . The humorous work, offered with a presale estimate of $3000 – 5000, far exceeded expectations and realized $24,000. LeRoy Neiman (1921 -* New York, NY) was represented in the sale by ten paintings and drawings from the 1950’s and 60’s, including bar and nightclub scenes, that came from a single estate. All sold, with all but one exceeding the high end of its estimate. These were led by two acrylic figurals depicting standing women that each brought more than $19,000 (estimates: $8000 – 12,000 and $7000 – 10,000). An ink and gouache portrait of Nat King Cole, autographed by Cole, realized $9187.50 (estimate: 6000 – 8000) and an ink drawing, Behind the Bar, sold for $7350 (estimate: $1500 – 2000). Also selling well were two female figurals by Roger Kuntz (1926 – 1975), Girl and Windows I (estimate: $1000 – 1500) and Girl and Tub II, (estimate: $800 – 1200). Each realized $5700.
An arresting composition by Charles Bunnell (1897 – 1968 Colorado Springs, CO) featuring bold colors and textures and rhythmic swirls of paint, March Snow, set a new record for the artist at auction. Offered with an estimate of $5000 – 7000, it realized $24,000, outstripping Bunnell’s previous record high price of $16,000, set in May 2008.’’March Snow’’, created in 1940, marks the period of Bunnell’s transition from Impressionism to a more abstract style.
The market for California and American Impressionism remains strong for exceptional works, as buyers continue to show a willingness to pay good prices for the best examples. A lyrically atmospheric autumn landscape with woodcutters and horses by Theodore Clement Steele (1847 – 1926 Brown County, IN) doubled its pre-sale estimate, selling for $33,000, and a nocturne by Birger Sandzen (1871 – 1954 Lindsborg, Kansas), Night Poplars in Moonlight, sold easily