Henri Eugène Le Sidaners luminous La balustrade, Londres, inspired by the morning light on the grounds of Englands Hampton Court, sold for $175,000 to lead Heritage Auctions
Fine European Art Auction to $1,015,850 May 29.
The auction, which raced past its pre-auction low estimate of $676,000, boasted outstanding sell-through rates of 98% by value and 95.6% by lots sold.
"This was a gorgeous sale that had the impression of a carefully curated exhibition, Heritage Auctions Senior European Art Specialist Dr. Marianne Berardi said. "As a result, it was hardly a surprise that we had museums bidding quite aggressively alongside private collectors and dealers. The paintings and works on paper were of high quality, drawn largely from private collections. The beautiful state of preservation doubtless contributed to the impressive sale results. It was interesting and encouraging to see that the auction had such a wide reach. 70% of the bidders were new to Heritage, fairly evenly distributed throughout the US, Europe, the UK and Asia.
Multiple bidders pursued Henri Eugène Le Sidaner La balustrade, Londres, 1908, which came from Chicago European Modernism collectors Elaine and Perry Snyderman, until it closed at $175,000. The painting belongs to a series of 11 canvases which the French artist developed from life studies he painted in England during the winter of 1907, completed in the studio in 1908 and first exhibited at Goupil Gallery in London in March of that year. The series features the palace and gardens of Englands venerable Hampton Court, but as evocative dreamscapes beautiful places glimpsed at dusk, or through the dewy atmosphere of morning, with glare refracting off the moisture in the air.
William Adolphe Bouguereau Tête d'Italienne avec une couronne de laurier (Head of an Italian girl with a laurel wreath), 1872 inspired 18 bidders before bringing $96,875. This canvas once was part of distinguished collection of Theodore and Mary Elizabeth DeWitt Cuyler of Philadelphia. The couple bought the painting during the artists lifetime as a piece of contemporary art for display in their home. After her husband died in 1877, Mary Cuyler honored his devotion to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by lending it to a special exhibition, where it was displayed under the title it bore when they had purchased it: Petrarchs Laura.
Adolphe Alexandre Lesrels Return of the fleet, from a private collection in Wisconsin, was in similar demand, riding bids from 16 collectors to a final price of $93,750, more than three times the high pre-auction estimate for the spectacular scene of lavishly dressed women with their pages, seated on a terrace framed by Gothic spires. Known primarily for historical genre scenes set in the Medieval through the Baroque periods, Lesrel was noted for his uncanny skill in rendering hyper-realistic texturenotably fabrics such as velvet, lace, silks, satins and brocades. His most common works are gatherings of smoking cavaliers. In the present work, however, the opportunity for the artist to showcase his dazzling aptitude for painting fabric is on glorious display. Because the work is painted on panel, the paint sits up proudly, nearly in high relief of the surface an effect that was irresistible to collectors bidding in the auction.
Competitive bidding also drove Emile Muniers Evening prayer, circa 1895 , from a private collection in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to nearly twice its high pre-auction estimate when it finished at $33,750.
One of the wonderful surprises of the sale was Finnish artist Maria Katarina Wiiks An unlikely duo, 1882 which soared to $32,500, over five times its high pre-sale estimate. The result continues Heritages strong trend of high auction records for work by European women artists over the last several years.
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
Camille Félix Bellanger Daphnis and Chloe, 1893 $43,750
Henri Eugène Le Sidaner jardin blanc, 1912 $30,000
Lorenzo Valles At the Villa Borghese, 1876 $27,500
Jules Pascin Lucy à Fontenay-aux-Roses, 1928-29 $27,500
Pierre-Auguste Renoir Gabrielle, Jean et une petite fille, 1895 $26,250