NEW YORK, NY.-
This morning in Sothebys
New York auction of American Art, Georgia OKeeffes 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 OKeeffe*. 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 works high estimate of $15 million. The work is a well-known example of OKeeffes 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 OKeeffe 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 groups total to a strong $50.4 million.
Rob Kret, Director of the Georgia OKeeffe Museum, said: We are excited about the record-breaking results of the Georgia OKeeffe artworks. It is wonderful to see Georgia OKeeffes 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 OKeeffes artistic accomplishments.
Elizabeth Goldberg, Head of Sothebys American Art Department, commented: The outstanding result for Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 places Georgia OKeeffes 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 OKeeffe Museum. To have achieved this result just one year after Norman Rockwells Saying Grace set a new benchmark for this category at $46 million shows that there is an amazing appetite in todays 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 Sothebys have exceeded their high estimates
In its first-ever appearance at auction, Childe Hassams Shingling the First Baptist Church, Gloucester more than double its high estimate in achieving $3,525,000 the highest auction price for the artists 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-Wrights 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 Sothebys 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 Chases Tired, which fetched $1,805,000 (est. $1.5/2.5 million) the highest auction price for the artist since Sothebys set his current record in May 2008. The works notable provenance includes the artists 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 Mitchells Untitled at Christies New York in May 2014. The previous auction record for a work by Georgia OKeeffe was $6.2 million, set at Christies New York in May 2001