PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freemans
announced yet another successful American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, with an overall result of over $2.4 Million. Local bidders filled the room, while both domestic and international clients engaged in spirited bidding over the internet and by telephone. The sale was the last fine art auction to be held at the houses historic 1808 Chestnut Street location, where Freemans has been headquartered since 1924.
Featuring over 150 lots of fine art, the sale included noteworthy paintings, drawings, watercolors, and prints. Particularly strong results were seen in the Pennsylvania Impressionists category, with Daniel Garbers By the River (Lot 138) selling for $250,000 the top lot of the sale. The painting depicted an idyllic view of the Delaware River in Bucks County in 1929 and presented bidders with an exemplary work showcasing Garbers most celebrated subject matter, and tapestry-like formal qualities. Mary Elizabeth Prices Hollyhocks and Delphinium Screen (Lot 152) soared to $112,500, significantly exceeding its presale estimate of $50,000-80,000 and setting a new auction record for a painted screen by the artist. Additionally, the sale offered numerous works by Fern Isabel Coppedge, including a quintessential winter landscape titled Winter Along the Delaware (Lot 116) that garnered $81,250 against a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000. Successful sale of works by several other female artists such as Susette Keast and Paulette Van Roeckens, confirmed a strengthening market for this category, with notable interest from private local collectors as well as major institutions, including the James A. Michener Museum of Art, who proudly purchased Keasts Portrait of the Artists Two daughters (Lot 96) for $11,875 the first work by the artist to enter the museums collection.
Excitement rippled throughout the room as a minutes-long battle between several telephone bidders sent Incense Breathing Morn.- Grays Elegy (On the Guayaquil River) by Louis Rémy Mignot (Lot 25) far beyond its presale estimate. The work, newly rediscovered in Rome after nearly 75 years in a private collection, ultimately brought $150,000 against a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000 and set a new auction record for a late work by the artist, often so rare at auction. A corpus of six works by Romare Bearden later captured auction-goers attention, selling for a combined $381,875 and thus reaffirming the current strength of the African American market. Specifically, New York Scenes (Lot 88), a series of 23 watercolors commissioned by John Cassavetes for the opening credits of his 1979 film Gloria, achieved $156,250 and set a record for a purely watercolor (non-collage) work by the artist.
Other highlights in the sale included works by noteworthy artists Theodore Earl Butler (Lot 30; $40,625), Norman Rockwell (Lot 65; $68,750), Edward Willis Redfield (Lot 105; $68,750) and George Noyes, whose four landscapes, all fresh at auction, sold for a combined $65,625 (Lots 38-41)
I was delighted with the response to our very last auction of American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists held in our Chestnut Street location says Chairman Alasdair Nichol. It was a packed-to-capacity room, with many active bidders during the highly popular Pennsylvania Impressionist section, a field in which Freemans continues to lead the market. I am particularly pleased to have sold the exceptional screen by Mary Elizabeth Price as my last lot on Chestnut Street, much to the delight of the consignor (then present in the room) who confessed it was one of the most over the top experiences of her life. I cant wait for our next auction of American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists in our new saleroom at 2400 Market St.