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O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist
Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1. Oil on canvas, 48 by 40 inches (121.9 by 101.6 cm). Painted in 1932. Estimate $10/15 million. Sold for $44,405,000 © 2014 The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


NEW YORK, NY.- This morning in Sotheby’s New York auction of American Art, Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic flower painting Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 sold for a remarkable $44,405,000 – more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist, and more than seven times the previous auction record for O’Keeffe*. The sale went on to achieve a spectacular total of $75.4 million, well in excess of its $46 million high estimate**, with ten works achieving prices over $1 million.

Seven bidders competed for Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, but it was a prolonged battle between two determined bidders that drove the price to this record height – nearly tripling the work’s high estimate of $15 million. The work is a well-known example of O’Keeffe’s celebrated flower paintings, which in turn stand among the most recognizable images in both art history and popular culture.

Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 was one of three works by the artist that were on offer today from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, sold to benefit its Acquisitions Fund. Each work exceeded its high estimate, with On the Old Santa Fe Road fetching the second-highest price of the day at $5,093,000 (est. $2/3 million), and Untitled (Skunk Cabbage) selling for $941,000 (est. $500/750,000). This brings the group’s total to a strong $50.4 million.

Rob Kret, Director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, said: “We are excited about the record-breaking results of the Georgia O’Keeffe artworks. It is wonderful to see Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic artworks receive the recognition and valuation they deserve. This sale will provide funding to strengthen and refine our collection, allowing us to represent the full breadth of Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic accomplishments.”

Elizabeth Goldberg, Head of Sotheby’s American Art Department, commented: “The outstanding result for Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 places Georgia O’Keeffe’s work in the top tier of 20th century artists on the market internationally, where it has always belonged. It was a particular privilege to present works on behalf of such a wonderful institution as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. To have achieved this result just one year after Norman Rockwell’s Saying Grace set a new benchmark for this category at $46 million shows that there is an amazing appetite in today’s market for gems of American Art.”

AUCTION NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS

• International interest in the sale was evidenced by buyers from the US, UK and Asia among the top ten works

• Five of the last six auctions of American Art at Sotheby’s have exceeded their high estimates

• In its first-ever appearance at auction, Childe Hassam’s Shingling the First Baptist Church, Gloucester more than double its high estimate in achieving $3,525,000 – the highest auction price for the artist’s work in five years. Hassam retained the work in his personal collection throughout his life, and it has remained in the same family collection since 1970.

• Stanton MacDonald-Wright’s Still-Life Synchromy led a group of Modernist works emerging from an important American collection, selling for $2,165,000 – the second-highest price for the artist at auction, and just shy of the $2.3 million record established at Sotheby’s in 2007.

• Two works by Norman Rockwell crossed the $1 million threshold: End of the Working Day (Commuter Rush), which appeared on the cover of Literary Digest on 6 November 1920, brought $1,865,000 (est. $1/1.5 million), while Fireman, which originally appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on 27 May 1944, sold for $1,685,000 (est. $1.5/2.5 million)

• American Impressionist works were led by William Merritt Chase’s Tired, which fetched $1,805,000 (est. $1.5/2.5 million) – the highest auction price for the artist since Sotheby’s set his current record in May 2008. The work’s notable provenance includes the artist’s own collection, and more than a decade as part of the renowned Manoogian Collection of 19th century American art.


** The previous auction record for any work by a female artist was $11.9 million, set by Joan Mitchell’s Untitled at Christie’s New York in May 2014. The previous auction record for a work by Georgia O’Keeffe was $6.2 million, set at Christie’s New York in May 2001






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