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American Art achieves $34.8 million at Sotheby's led by Edward Hopper's "Bridle Path", sold for $10.4 million
The auction was led by Edward Hopper’s Bridle Path. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- This morning’s auction of American Art at Sotheby’s New York totaled a strong $34,787,625, exceeding its high estimate of $28.4 million* and selling an exceptional 88.1% by lot. This marks the highest total for an American Art auction at Sotheby’s since May 2008, and the highest sell-through rate in this category since December 2004. Six of the 59 lots on offer brought prices over $1 million, and nearly 60% of all sold lots achieved results over their high estimates.

The auction was led by Edward Hopper’s Bridle Path, which was on offer from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and sold to benefit the acquisitions program. Four bidders in the room competed for the canvas – the first oil painting by Hopper to come to auction since Sotheby’s record sale of Hotel Window in 2006 – and drove the final price to a remarkable $10,386,500 (est. $5/7 million). This marks the third-highest price for the artist at auction, and the seventh-highest price achieved by any work of art in a public auction of American Art. Also highlighting today’s results was George Bellows’s 1920 canvas Tennis at Newport that sold for $7,026,500, meeting its high estimate. Sotheby’s now holds the top five auction prices for Bellows, of which this is the second.

“The market for American art showed many signs of strength and confidence this week, and we are thrilled with the results achieved today at Sotheby’s,” commented Elizabeth Goldberg, Head of Sotheby’s American Art department. “Private collectors, dealers, advisors and institutions participated in the auction, which saw top prices across the full range of styles and genres represented in this category – from Modern and Impressionist works to Western art and 19th century paintings. Buyers sought quality first and foremost, and we look forward to assembling an auction this fall that again offers such collecting opportunities.”

In addition to the Hopper and Bellows pictures, strong results were achieved this morning by Western paintings. Frederic Remington’s A Halt in the Wilderness from 1905 fetched the top price in the genre with $2,770,500, more than double its $1.2 million high estimate. In addition, all six pieces from the Collection of Margie and Robert E. Peterson were sold, totaling $1,833,750. The group was led by Charles Marion Russell’s The Tenderfoot, which sold for $932,500 (est. $600/900,000).

Other top prices in the auction further demonstrate the broad spectrum of works sought by collectors: Childe Hassam’s Impressionist picture In the Sun brought $1,986,500 (est. $1.5/2.5 million); Andrew Wyeth’s Jacklight from 1980 exceeded its high estimate of $900,000 by selling for $1,538,500; and the 19th century canvas A Pair of Nesting Crimson Topaz Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade achieved $1,022,500 above a high estimate of $600,000.

*Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

Today's News

May 18, 2012

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American Art achieves $34.8 million at Sotheby's led by Edward Hopper's "Bridle Path", sold for $10.4 million

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