Notable collections achieve top results at Bonhams Fine Art Sales in New York

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Notable collections achieve top results at Bonhams Fine Art Sales in New York
Charles Henry Alston (1907-1977), Abstraction (Yellow), circa 1960. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- One of the most remarkable Modern masterpieces by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) achieved $3.3 million in The Estate of Melvin S. Rosenthal auction on November 16.  Additional highlights from the dedicated sale include Robert Motherwell’s (1915-1991) Untitled (Elegy), which sold for $1.1 million and Ed Ruscha’s (b. 1937) The Eighties, which sold for $1 million. This collection presented some of the best examples of 20th and 21st century art that were cherished by Mr. Rosenthal in his California homes.  

“We’re thrilled with the results from this single-owner sale and it’s a testament to Bonhams’ long-standing history in the California market to a bring collection of this caliber to New York’s marquee sales,” commented Ralph Taylor, Global Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art for Bonhams.  

Later in the evening, the Post-War & Contemporary Art sale presented another important collection from The Estate of Sherman K. Edmiston Jr., who is remembered fondly for a program that championed ‘Black masters’ alongside his wife Essie Green at her namesake gallery in Harlem. The Edmistons were dedicated to uplifting their culture and community, and as a result were instrumental in the careers of major Black artists who are recognized as some of the greatest artists of our time. Highlights from the sale include Untitled (Gathering) by Norman Lewis (1909-1979) which sold for over $819,000 and Blue Unions (1972) by Sam Gilliam which sold for over $731,000. 

“It was an honor for us to work with the Edmiston family and be a part of their legacy story," commented Andrew Huber, Senior Specialist and Head of Sale for Post-War & Contemporary Art at Bonhams in New York. “We presented works that were exemplative of their reputation and it’s no wonder these works sold so well as people recognize what the Edmiston-name represents.” 

Other highlights of the sale included:  

• Diamond Dust Shoes (1980) by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) sold for $1 million. 

• Cherries (2005) by Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) sold for $529,000, a world record for this edition.

• Cigar Box Lid #13 (Ocean Park Series) (1979) by Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) sold for $529,000. 

• Rue Song (2018) by Adriana Varejão (b. 1964) sold for $516,000. 

• Ukulele Player (1981) by Alex Katz (b. 1927) sold for $353,000.  

On November 17, the American Art auction achieved $1.6 million with highlights that included:  

• Bojangles by Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) sold for $315,000.

• Sailboats at Gloucester by Winslow Homer (1836-1910) sold for $240,000.

• Figure on a Pier at Edge of Lake by Edward Bannister (1828-1901) from The Estate of Sherman K. Edmiston Jr., sold for $48,000.

• West of New York Harbor by James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894) sold for $61,000. 

“It was an exciting sale day in New York, and we are extremely pleased with the exceptional results achieved across the board,” commented Morgan Martin, Head of Department for American Art at Bonhams in New York. “The market for Ernie Barnes continues to show its strength as seen with his incredible painting of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson leading the sale and breezing well beyond its estimate.” 

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