PRESS RELEASE: American Impressionist collection leads Christie's November auction
New York – Christie’s announces the fall sale of American Art on November 22 will offer 101 lots encompassing a range of styles and artists of 19th century, Impressionism, Modernism, Regionalism, Western and Illustration art. The sale features one of the strongest selections of American Impressionist paintings to appear on the auction market, including pioneers of the genre such as Childe Hassam, Frank Weston Benson, Frederick Carl Frieseke and John Leslie Breck, among others. Other sale highlights include works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth and Stuart Davis.
The sale is led by Frank Weston Benton’s dazzling work, The Reader, which depicts an iconic Impressionist subject; the artist’s eldest daughter is enjoying a beautiful summer day reading outside while perched under a parasol (estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000). The Reader is a prime example of the Maine summer paintings that embody the pinnacle of Benson’s career-long play with light, and the work has been in a private collection for 40 years.
Twenty-four American Impressionist paintings from a private New York collection highlight the sale, and include works by Childe Hassam, John Leslie Breck and John Singer Sargent that depict Ironbound, Maine, a privately owned island once home to fellow American Impressionist, Dwight Blaney, who hosted these artists to visit and paint en plein air. Hassam’s Sunset: Ironbound, Mt. Desert, Maine (estimate: $1,500,000 - 2,500,000) has the distinguished provenance of being hung in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House from 1977 to 1989, and Sargent’s watercolor The Piazza; On the Verandah, which depicts Blaney and his family, is inscribed “For my friend Dwight Blaney” (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000).
Another sale highlight is Edward Moran’s Commerce of Nations Rendering Homage to Liberty, which was executed in 1876, ten years before the Statue of Liberty was completed, as a means to raise funds and inspire patriotic enthusiasm for sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s undertaking (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000).
The sale also includes Andrew Wyeth’s The Sexton, which not only demonstrates the artist’s technical mastery of the tempera medium and represents his enduring motifs of isolation and mortality, but appears at auction for the first time, having descended in the family from the Oak Ridge Collection of J.J. Ryan (estimate: $2,000,000 – 3,000,000). The cover-lot of the sale is N.C. Wyeth’s “Hands Up!”, which epitomizes the artist’s compositional skills and unmatched sense of visual narrative that garnered his reputation as one of America’s foremost illustrators (estimate: $1,500,000 – 2,500,000).
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