PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freemans
March 30th auction of The George D. Horst Collection of Fine Art achieved $4.3 million in sales, more than tripling the original estimate of $1.3 million. The single-owner American and European paintings auction drew international interest as collectors from 47 countries registered for the sale and bidders packed Freemans third floor gallery an hour before the auction beganthose without seats lining the perimeter of the room. Once the auction commenced, spirited bidding from the room, on the phones, and online sent prices soaring above estimates. New auction records were set for 18 artists, and the 63-lot auction had a 100% percent sell-through, making it a white glove sale.
I am beyond thrilled with the results for this collection, said Vice Chairman and auctioneer Alasdair Nichol. When Freemans was appointed to sell The George D. Horst Collection, I said it was an auctioneers perfect storm. The paintings had a fantastic provenance and were in excellent condition. Our marketing department then took the collection to the next level. From events and lectures in London, Washington, DC, and Philadelphias Main Line to producing high-quality videos, generating press, and reaching collectors via social media, the marketing for this sale went viral, continued Nichol.
Top Lots from The George D. Horst Collection of Fine Art:
Lot 64: Winter Sunlight by Edward Willis Redfield, oil on canvas, sold for $710,500 (Below)
Lot 49: Marshes of Long Point by Frank Weston Benson, oil on canvas, sold for $662,500
Lot 42: Copper and Porcelain by Emil Carlsen, oil on canvas, sold for $386,500 (AUCTION RECORD)
Lot 61: Glen Cuttalossa by Daniel Garber, oil on canvas, sold for $398,500
Lot 53: The Norwegian Cottage by Childe Hassam, oil on canvas, sold for $242,500
Lot 7: Estuary with Sailboats and Lighthouses by Eugène Louis Boudin, oil on canvas, sold for $170,500
Lot 41: Beyond by Jonas Lie, oil on canvas, sold for $146,500 (AUCTION RECORD)
Lot 44: Maine Cliffs in Sunlight by Howard Russell Butler, oil on board, sold for $ 146,500 (AUCTION RECORD)
Lot 4: Garden Gate by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, oil on canvas, sold for $122,500
Lot 8: Petite Fille à la Fontaine by Léon Augustin Lhermitte, oil on canvas, sold for $122,500
Lot 43: Joyous Island by George Loftus Noyes, oil on canvas, sold for $122,500 (AUCTION RECORD)
The top three lots from the Horst sale were sold to private collectors across the United States, and auction records were achieved for 18 artists including Katherine Newbold Birdsall, George Matthew Bruestle, Howard Russell Butler, Emil Carlsen, Mary Gray, Walter Hauschild, Louis Bertrand Ralston Keeler, Paul Bernard King, Elizabeth Annie McGillvray Knowles, Jonas Lie, Mary McClellan, George Loftus Noyes, Marie Danforth Page, Susan Gertrude Schell, Milly Steger, George Agnew Reid , Caroline Everett Risque, and Frederick R. Wagner.
Notable Auction Records from The George D. Horst Collection of Fine Art:
Lot 30: Figure of a Dancer by Milly Steger, bronze sculpture, sold for $70,150 previous record: $11,833
Lot 42: Copper and Porcelain by Emil Carlsen, oil on canvas, sold for $386,500 previous record: $156,000
Lot 41: Beyond by Jonas Lie, oil on canvas, sold for $146,500 previous record $132,000
Lot 43: Joyous Island by George Loftus Noyes, oil on canvas, sold for $122,500 previous record: $56,400
Lot 44: Maine Cliffs in Sunlight by Howard Russell Butler, oil on canvas, sold for $146,500 previous record: $26,400
Lot 55: The Mother by Marie Danforth Page, oil on canvas, sold for $80,500 previous record: $18,800
Lot 59: River Landscape by George Agnew Reid, oil on canvas, sold for $48,000 previous record: $9,394
Lot 63: Winter Afternoon by Frederick R. Wagner, oil on canvas, sold for $98,500 previous record: $46,875, sold at Freemans in June 2013
The George D. Horst Collection had remained virtually unseen for almost a century, and the 63 paintings, many in their original frames, were amassed by Pennsylvania businessman George D. Horst from 1911-1929. Most works were purchased soon after their completion from galleries, fine art institutions, and auction housesincluding Freemans. Horst constructed his own private gallery in 1924 and continued to purchase art until the stock market crashed in 1929. The Horsts often used this single-room gallery for entertaining friends and sharing their impressive collection with guests.
An immigrant from Germany, the American and European paintings in the collection reflect Horsts dual identity. A major source of American art for Horst was the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the US. Known for producing many talented and influential American artists, PAFAs annual exhibitions provided students and graduates with the opportunity to present the best examples of their work, which in turn, drew collectors like Horst. Daniel Garbers painting entitled Glen Cuttaloosa was acquired by Horst during the 1926 exhibition, one year after it was completed. Horst was also partial to Pennsylvania Impressionists (also known as the New Hope School) such as Fred Wagner, Edward Willis Redfield, and William Lathrop as well as American artists known as The Ten such as Childe Hassam and Frank Weston Benson. Among the European painters in the collection, well-known predecessors of Impressionism like Barbizon artists Eugène Boudin and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, as well as Henri Harpignies, Charles-François Daubigny and Diaz de la Pena were represented.
George Horst died in 1934, his wife in 1957. By the 1950s, the Impressionist style of the collection fell out of fashion, replaced by artistic trends which rejected the traditions of their forbearers. As a result, Horsts paintings were forgotten by the family. They remained undisturbed in the gallery until the 1980s when his grandson, George H. Sullivan, began to re-examine the collection. His interest was triggered by an exhibition he attended in New York City, dedicated to the French Barbizon painter, Charles-François Daubigny. As he studied his grandfathers Daubignyand then more closely the rest of the ensemblehe discovered that this seemingly unpretentious collection was actually a trove of fine artwork by European and American nineteenth and early twentieth-century painters.