Heritage Fine Art Auction Realizes $3.5 Million

. May 13, 2008

Contemporary European Works Lead the Way – Many Records Broken

Dallas, TX – Heritage Auction Galleries held its latest Fine Art Signature Auction on Thursday, May 8, 2008 and sold 200 lots for $3,210,632, including buyers’ premiums. The next morning, an additional 199 lots sold in a final session realized $296,147, bringing the total to $3,506,779.
Heritage attracted 1,017 floor, phone, fax, mail, Internet (HA.com) and Heritage Live bidders to this auction, many of them from overseas, accounting for the particular success of European art in this sale.

A sculpture by contemporary Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro, Piccolo Sfera, led the sale with a price realized of $358,500 against an estimate of $150,000-$200,000.

Astonishing bidders by selling for more than seven times its estimate was French artist Niki de Saint Phalle’s Angel of Temperance, with a price realized of $233,025. This sculpture of Temperance, one of a series the artist created based on tarot cards, is a model for the full-size version that crowns the Chapel of Temperance in the Giardino dei Tarocchi (Tarot Garden) in Capalbio, Italy. This 27-inch maquette was made for consideration of an additional full-size sculpture to adorn an office building in Dallas, which was never ordered. The price realized is a record one for De Saint Phalle’s tarot models.

European bidders competed fiercely for and won paintings by British artist Malcolm Morley (Horses realized $286,800 against an estimate of $80,000-$120,000) and Chinese/French artist Zao Wou-ki (Marches Montantes realized $131,450 against an estimate of $100,000-$120,000). They lost British artist Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Richard Hart-Davis, M.P., however, to an American bidder at $113,525 (against an estimate of $30,000-$50,000).

The downward trend in the American economy was not reflected in the results for American paintings, as Heritage set the record for California Impressionist Millard Sheets, with his Cotton Pickers selling for $53,775. Other American masters were successful in this auction, such as John Marin’s watercolor Shapes – Colors, Delaware County, Pa., a Joseph Meeker southern U.S. landscape, and a portrait of Esther M. Groome by William Merritt Chase, all of which sold for well above their estimates.

Highlights from the auction include the following:

Arnaldo Pomodoro (Italian, b. 1926)
Piccolo Sfera, 1963
Bronze
20 x 20 x 20 inches (50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm)
Realized: $358,500

Niki De Saint-Phalle (French, 1930-2002)
Angel of Temperance, 1987
Sculpted resin
27 x 21 x 8 inches (68.6 x 53.3 x 20.3 cm)
Realized: $233,025

Malcolm Morley (British, b. 1931)
Horses, 1967
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 inches (76.2 x 101.6 cm)
Realized: $286,800

Zao Wou-Ki (Chinese/French, b. 1921)
Marches Montantes, 1954
Oil on masonite
18 x 15 inches (45.7 x 38.1 cm)
Realized: $131,450

Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, 1769-1830)
Richard Hart-Davis, M.P., 1815
Oil on canvas
31-1/2 x 25 inches (80.0 x 63.5 cm)
Realized: $113,525

Joseph Rusling Meeker (American, 1827-1889)
Florida Lowlands, 1886
Oil on canvas
30 x 25 inches (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
Realized: $95,600

William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916)
Portrait of Esther M. Groome, circa 1912
Oil on canvas
22 x 18 inches (55.9 x 45.7 cm)
Realized: $95,600

Millard Sheets (American, 1907-1989)
Cotton Pickers
Oil on canvas
36 x 40 inches (91.4 x 101.6 cm)
Realized: $53,775

John Marin (American, 1870-1953)
Shapes-Colors, Delaware Country, Pa., 1916
Watercolor on card stock
16-1/4 x 19-1/4 inches (41.3 x 48.9 cm)
Realized: $41,825

Heritage’s next Fine Art Signature auctions will feature Russian Art (June 4) and Illustration Art (June 5).

Heritage is the world’s third largest auction house, with over 350,000 registered online bidder members, and annual sales exceeding $600 million. For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.

Category: Auction News

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