Birger Sandzén’s Late Moon Rising (Wild Horse Creek), 1923, brought a stunning $262,900 as the top lot in Heritage Auction’s May 17 combined Signature® Fine American, European Art & Western Art sale, held May 17 at Heritage’s Design District Annex at 1518 Slocum Street. The auction realized $2,597,907 total, with a sell-through rate of 71.7% by value. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“Prices realized across the board were solid,” said Ed Beardsley, Managing Director of Heritage’s Department of Fine Art. “We saw more than 750 bidders vying for 391 lots across three different categories. Interest was strong and the bids were there to back that interest up.”
“Sandzen’s works are among the most highly desirable paintings on the market today, as evidenced by the fierce bidding we experienced for this breathtaking piece,” said Kirsty Buchanan, Consignment Director for Heritage’s Art of the American West department. “This painting is truly an iconic depiction of Wild Horse Creek, which ran through land owned by Sandzén’s in-laws, near Bogue, Kansas, and provided an endless source of inspiration for the artist throughout his career.”
Realist John Koch’s intimate and personal Father and Son, 1955, almost doubled its pre-auction estimate of $80,000+ to finish the auction at $155,350 as several collectors bid to take the piece home.
“Koch occupied a special place in the world of portrait and figure painting in Mid-Century New York by staging all his compositions in his Manhattan apartment,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “In this particular painting, Koch trained his gimlet eye on himself and his young son, capturing a tender and moving moment between father and son. Collectors responded quite strongly to it, resulting in quite a fantastic final price realized.”
Jonas Lie’s oil Off on the Breeze realized $80,663 against a pre-auction estimate of $20,000+ in one of the auction’s most pleasant surprises. As founder of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, which organized the 1913 Armory show in New York City, Lie’s work is always highly prized by collectors when it appears at auction and a large cluster of interested bidders made a play for this exuberant painting before it finished at more than four times expectations.
Regarded by many as one of France’s greatest female artists, Suzanne Valadon lived up to that lofty billing as her Still Life with Fruit and Glass, 1910, inspired a final price of $65,725 amidst spirited bidding while Frank McCarthy’s oil painting Stolen Ponies, one of the auction’s most evocative offerings, brought an impressive $50,788.
A diverse trio of fine paintings, Eanger Irving Couse’s haunting oil painting The Spirit of the Pooland Wilhlem Kuhnert’s dramatic Zebras, 1912 and Guy Carleton Wiggins The Empire State Building, Winter, all booked a final price realized of $44,813.
Rounding out the auction’s Top 10 are Birger Sandzén’s Early Fall, Smoky River, 1927, and Lorser Feitelson’s Bathers, 1923, both realizing $38,838.