NEW YORK, NY.-
Public institutions and private collectors zealously vied for works from the estates of Georgia OKeeffe and Alfred Stieglitz in todays auction Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia OKeeffe, Juan Hamilton: Passage at Sothebys
New York, driving the sale to achieve $17.2 million total well in excess of the auctions $13.3 million high estimate, and with a strong 87.4% of all lots finding buyers. Featuring never-before-seen artworks and personal effects emerging from the collection of artist Juan Hamilton, friend and confidante of OKeeffe, the selection of works on offer traced the artistic evolutions and shared histories of the three American artists.
Kayla Carlsen, Sothebys Head of American Art, said: We are very pleased with the results of todays auction, which drew many new clients to participate in our salesroom. These results demonstrate that collectors and fans remain fascinated by Georgia OKeeffes life and work, and we are proud to continue pushing her legacy forward, particularly alongside the many public institutions who acquired works for their collection.
WORKS BY GEORGIA OKEEFFE:
Todays auction was led by OKeeffes widely-exhibited and reproduced Nature Forms Gaspé, which achieved $6.9 million surpassing its $6 million high estimate. Painted in 1932, the artist was inspired by the natural forms and organic shapes she encountered while traveling along the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada with Georgia Engelhard, Stieglitzs niece, in the summer of 1932.
A group of exceptional sculptures by OKeeffe was led by Abstraction, which fetched $668,000 more than double its $300,000 high estimate. First modeled in 1946, the work represents OKeeffes second attempt at sculpture, and is a cast of one example of only three sculptural motifs that she produced throughout her seven-decade career. The spiral form appears throughout her body of work and is reminiscent of OKeeffes bone paintings in its organic form and white color.
Offering a rare glimpse into OKeeffes artistic and creative process, the selection of charcoal and pencil drawings on offer were led by Untitled (Trees) from 1976, which brought $106,250. While most well-known for her paintings of flowers and animal skulls, OKeeffe first gained critical recognition through her drawings and works on paper. These works continued to play an essential role throughout her career, and the medium afforded opportunity for experimentation and independence from traditional art training.
The collection featured a selection of OKeeffes rare stoneware, examples of which have never before been offered at auction. The group of seven works, led by Untitled (Clay Pot) that brought $60,000, together achieved a total of $250,000 more than three times their overall high estimate. Records of the artists pottery begin in 1974 when OKeeffe was exposed to new materials, and became inspired and reawakened by working alongside Hamilton.
GEORGIA OKEEFFES PERSONAL EFFECTS
Standout prices for a selection of personal effects emblematic of OKeefes life and work included: a 18-jar set of vivid pigments, each labeled in OKeeffes hand, which fetched $75,000; a spectacularly fresh copy of the first, limited edition of James Joyces Ulysses inscribed and signed by her Modernist colleague Marsden Hartley, which achieved $62,500; a custom black and white pleated dress possibly hand sewn-by OKeeffe, which achieved $25,000; and the marriage certificate for Stieglitz and OKeeffes 1924 wedding, signed by Stieglitz Circle artist John Marin as one of the witnesses, which achieved $15,000 surpassing its $10,000 high estimate.
YALE UNIVERSITY ACQUISITION
In advance of todays auction, Yale Universitys Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library acquired a group of important manuscripts and photographs from the collection, in a private sale with Sothebys through the offices of the William Reese Company. These materials will join the librarys famed Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia OKeeffe Archive, which was originated by OKeeffe when she visited Yale in 1949. The archive features photographs, paintings and drawings, letters, and ephemera documenting the lives and careers of Stieglitz and O'Keeffe, and has served as the source of numerous monographs and articles on the artists.
The Beinecke Librarys acquisition includes: OKeeffes personal recipe card file, featuring approximately 300 recipes in OKeeffes hand and in other hands assembled from the 1950s 1970s (pictured left); an address book, begun about 1926, which OKeeffe and Stieglitz shared; and an archive of published and unpublished manuscript writings by OKeeffe spanning decades, subjects and locations, and ranging in topics from My Eyes and Paintings to Juan About Pots and Abstract Paintings.
The Beinecke Library is delighted that these important materials will join the extensive Stieglitz/OKeeffe archive, one of our most frequently consulted collections, said Edwin C. Schroeder, the librarys director. We look forward to the new scholarship that will result from their accessibility alongside an archive first begun thanks to Georgia OKeeffes vision and generosity more than 70 years ago.
ALFRED STIEGLITZ PHOTOGRAPHS
CAPTURING THEIR ARTISTIC AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP
Demonstrating Alfred Stieglitzs fascination with OKeeffes work, body, and soul, a group of Stieglitz photographs was led by Georgia O'Keeffe - Hand and Wheel from 1933, an iconic image of her braceleted hand delineating the curve of the spare tire of her Ford V-8, which achieved $400,000. OKeeffe learned to drive during the summers she spent in the American Southwest, and purchased her first automobile in 1929. OKeeffes automobile and the act of driving were both expressions of her growing independence away from Alfred Stieglitz and Lake George.
Additional works by Stieglitz featured: Spiritual America, the only print of this image believed have ever been offered at auction, which achieved $218,750 more than two times its $90,000 high estimate and 291, the first double-set of the proto-Dada produced from 1915-16 to ever appear at auction, which achieved $162,500 more than three times its $50,000 high estimate.