Works by N.C. Wyeth, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Ernie Barnes soar past their estimates at Heritage

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Works by N.C. Wyeth, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Ernie Barnes soar past their estimates at Heritage
Ernie Barnes (American, 1938-2009), Grooms at Work. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 23-3/4 x 48 in. Sold on Nov 17, 2023 for: $193,750.

DALLAS, TX.- On November 17, Heritage Auctions continued to prove its strength in the American Art category with a tightly curated event that saw a number of works by America’s beloved artists sell for far above their estimates, broke an auction record and landed a painting in a prominent East Coast institution.

The auction, Views and Visions: Important Works by American Masters Signature® Auction, realized more than $4 million and was led by the remarkable sale of a 1914 oil-on-canvas work by Newell Convers Wyeth, which sold for $567,000, far outstripping its $250,000- $350,00 estimate. Titled Good-bye, Mistress Friendly-Soul!, The Witch, the work was created as the illustration for the frontispiece for Mary Johnston's 1914 novel The Witch, and is abeautiful example of N.C. Wyeth's literary illustration work. Another work that soared well above its estimate was a 1897 bronze bust by Augustus Saint-Gaudens modeled on his favorite model Harriette (Hettie) Eugenia Anderson. Titled Hettie Anderson, first study for the Head of Victory, it was created as a study for Saint-Gaudens’ NIKE and the figure of Liberty from the Sherman Memorial at the entrance to Central Park; its estimate was $40,000-$60,000, and it sold for $200,000.

An oil-and-acrylic on canvas by Ernie Barnes titled Grooms at Work, to be included in the forthcoming Barnes catalogue raisonné, outperformed its $30,000-$50,000 estimate to realize $193,750. And a 2002 acrylic on canvas by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith titled Land Deal flew past its $25,000-$35,000 estimate to realize $125,000. The event was, in other words, an auction that inspired forthright appreciation from collectors for some cherished artists.

"Our classic golden-age illustrations exceeded expectations, with select lots achieving a remarkable ten times their presale estimates,” says Aviva Lehmann, Heritage's Senior Vice President of American Art. “These outcomes continue to highlight the insatiable demand within the collector community for top-tier illustrations in every category — and Heritage remains their trusted destination to satisfy that demand."

Speaking of illustration, a 1960 painting by John Ford Clymer for a Saturday Evening Post cover titled Recess at Pine Creek School, Montanasold for $187,500. Other strong performers on Nov. 17 included a circa 1870s painting by Albert Bierstadt titled Evening, Owens Lake, California, which sold for $212,500 and a 1965 tempera on panel by George Tooker titled Tree, which sold for $193,750. A painting by Sanford Robinson Gifford titled Long Branch Beach, from 1867, sold for $165,000.

Of note: Heritage set an auction record for 19th century American artist M. Hörburg with the oil-on-canvas Lady Columbia and the Emancipation Proclamation, circa 1863-75. It sold for $65,625. The painting serves as a striking example of how art and symbolism play a crucial role in shaping public perception and understanding of the Emancipation Proclamation during a pivotal moment in American history. And a prominent East Coast institution added to its collection with a 1920 moody gem of a painting by George Bellows titled Blasted Tree and Deserted House. It sold for $62,500.

“The auction featured museum-quality offerings across the spectrum, drawing attention from both the collecting community and esteemed institutions alike,” says Lehmann. “Our catalog generated immense enthusiasm and garnered praise from collectors, consignors, dealers, advisors and museums, who join us in celebrating American Art as a cornerstone of our country’s history and culture."

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