Eric P. Widing
New York, Rockefeller Center
As Deputy Chairman and formerly head of our American Paintings Department, Eric Widing has worked at Christie’s for over seventeen years. His interest in art started early, when at the age of eleven he purchased his first art book, an exhibition catalogue on the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. Prior to joining Christie’s, Mr. Widing worked for seventeen years as a dealer in American Art, first with the Spanierman Gallery in New York, and later as the director of the Richard York Gallery. Subsequently he established his own gallery, Widing & Peck Fine Art, on East 66th Street. His gallery represented the Estate of George Bellows and handled important American art from 1750 to 1950 – the focus of Mr. Widing’s entire career. In all, Mr. Widing has spent over three decades in the American Art business.
Mr. Widing’s responsibilities as Deputy Chairman focus primarily on the American Paintings department. Additionally he works closely with other departments across Christie’s business.
During his tenure, Christie's American Paintings Department became a market leader in the field, establishing new world records for artists in virtually every category of American Art. Among these records are the November 2013 sale of Edward Hopper’s East Wind over Weehawken for $40,485,000, the highest price ever achieved for a single work of art in an American Art Sale at Christie’s, along with the record-setting price for a work on paper by Hopper, $4,155,750, achieved by Kelly Jenness House. In 2008, the sale of Thomas Moran’s Green River of Wyoming for $17,737,000 achieved the highest price ever at auction for any 19th-century American painting. That same year Christie’s established a new world record for the Stieglitz circle with the sale of Marsden Hartley’s Lighthouse for $6,313,000. More recently, the department’s sale of Norman Rockwell’s The Rookie for $22,565,000 established the highest price for an American painting sold in 2014. In 2015, the American Paintings department set new world records for such artists as Thomas Hart Benton ($4,869,000), William Bradford ($1,445,000), Arthur Dove ($5,429,000), and many others. With respect to private sales, Mr. Widing was one of a team of two who sold Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic in 2006 for $68,000,000, the highest price ever achieved for a work of art in his field. In recent years, private sales continued to play a major role in American Art at Christie’s.
A recognized authority on American painting and sculpture, Mr. Widing is often cited in the national press. He has been quoted in The New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Antiques and the Arts Weekly, Art + Auction Magazine, Architectural Digest, Town & Country magazine, The Art Newsletter, The Maine Antiques Digest, The Huffington Post and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Mr. Widing has been interviewed by National Public Radio and has appeared on Bloomberg TV. He continues to be a frequent source of information on the American field. Mr. Widing has also lectured widely at museums across the country and on occasion to university students. He is a graduate of Williams College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the Karl E. Weston prize for his senior thesis in Art History.