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Christie's first online sale of American art to be offered alongside February auction
Jacon Lawrence, Builders—Men on Ladders. Estimate: $40,000-60,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.
NEW YORK, NY.- Following one of its most successful years in the category of American Art, Christie’s announces that two sales of American Art will be offered this February – the annual mid-season sale on February 26, along with the first online-only sale for the department, Jacob Lawrence: Works From The Collection Of The Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Trust. The live auction will offer 180 lots, spanning the 19th and 20th century, with such notable artists as Milton Avery, Jane Peterson, N.C. Wyeth, and Stephen Scott Young, among others. The online-only sale, open for bidding from February 21 through March 4, will feature 40 works by Jacob Lawrence from the Estate of the artist’s wife of nearly 60 years, Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence (1913-2005), who was also an artist herself.

Over the past few years, Christie’s has made a significant commitment to building its e-commerce platform to support internet exclusive sales and has successfully piloted numerous online-only sales for Wine, Fashion, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Asian Art, and Pop Culture with great feedback and enthusiasm from our clients. The expansion of online-only sales into the American Art category is a testament to clients’ support of the internet-exclusive platform as a regular and integral component of Christie’s business.

Jacob Lawrence Online Sale: Open for Bidding February 21
Spanning decades through the artist’s career, from the late 1940s-1990s, the online only sale of Jacob Lawrence: Works from the Collection of the Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Trust offers a variety of media and themes of work by the important twentieth century African American artist Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence is renowned for his work’s modernist aesthetic that is fused with depictions of everyday realities he observed in his community. The artist’s brightly colored palette and distinctive style is evident in a selection of works available in the sale that balance the twin elements of Lawrence's art, content and form.

Lawrence explored both historical events and contemporary experiences. His first large series of work, painted in 1938, was on the life of General Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led Haiti to independence, and the The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture series is represented by a selection of screenprints available in the sale, including Toussaint at Ennery (estimate: $2,500-3,500), which was executed in 1989.

One of Lawrence’s most iconic themes was of that of the builders, a subject matter he explored throughout his career. Rather than showing builders toiling on laborious tasks in a negative light, the artist’s builders works are optimistic and developed overtime to depict integrated groups of people working together in harmony. The online sale includes several vibrant works from the artist’s last painted series of builders, such as Builders—Men on Ladders (estimate: $40,000-60,000), as well as several drawings.

Men playing games like chess or cards was another frequently depicted theme in Lawrence’s work, especially toward the end of his career, and several of these paintings are available in the sale. The final games series is imbued with the artist’s fully developed style using fragmented planes and a bold palette, such as Games Throwing the Dice (estimate: $40,000-60,000).

• Jacob Lawrence, Windows. Gouache and pencil on paper, 18 x 22 in., image; 18 1/2 x 22 1/2 in., overall, Executed in 1977. Estimate: $60,000-80,000

• Jacob Lawrence, Massachusetts Textile Mill Study III (Two Figures). Crayon on paper, 14 x 17 in., Executed circa 1966. Estimate: $7,000-10,000

Live Auction: February 26
Leading the sale is Jane Peterson’s Gloucester Harbor (estimate: $120,000-180,000), among the finest examples of the artist’s work, depicting one of Peterson’s most celebrated subjects with her signature brilliant palette and dynamic brushwork. Gloucester Harbor demonstrates Peterson at the height of her abilities, employing innovative stylistic elements, the fundamental characteristics of her style that garnered her critical acclaim. In a unique style, Peterson uses grand brushstrokes to create a mosaic effect of highly expressive tones of color offset by pure strokes of white, giving the finished painting the appearance similar of cloisonné.

Vermont Landscape by Milton Avery (estimate: $60,000-80,000) is a lushly painted work, created circa 1942, which depicts the idyllic and tranquil environment where the artist and his family spent summer retreats from New York City. In Vermont Landscape, the green flora has given way to a blanket of pink in the foreground and new blossoms peek through the vegetation at lower right. Avery’s soft brushwork and use of harmonious colors further enhances the sentiment of the unspoiled view.

• Stephen Scott Young, On the Island. Watercolor and gouache on board, 34 x 30 in. Estimate: $40,000-60,000

• Cyrus Edwin Dallin, 'Appeal to the Great Spirit'. Bronze with red-brown patina, 21¼ in. high. Estimate: $40,000-60,000

• Newell Convers Wyeth, "At Daybreak, Mistress, in Execution of the Sentence Passed Upon Him Yesterday in the Governor's Court". Oil on canvas, 30¼ x 32 in., Painted in 1929. Estimate: $100,000-150,000

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