On October 5th, 2020, Freemans
will hold its single-owner auction of the Collection of Dr. Henry & Mrs. Fannie Levine. This special sale honors the legacy of these prominent Philadelphia collectors. It is also a rare opportunity for discerning buyers seeking blue-chip material offered for the first time in decades.
Considered lost for many years, Jackson Pollocks Pennsylvania Landscape returns to the art market with this event. Collectors will also find a diverse offering of work by Karel Appel and Paul Jenkins, as well as a 1949 still life by Bernard Buffet.
A LIFETIME OF CURIOSITY FUELS A COLLECTION
Curiosity and love of learning connected all of the Levines endeavors, from their careers in medicine to their passion for travel, music, and art collecting. They frequented museums and galleries, both in Philadelphia and around the world. They brought home carefully-wrapped treasures in their suitcases whenever they returned from holiday. Over the years, this grew into a collection that is both deeply personal and historically significant.
Henry Levines voracious appetite for art and its makers led him to collect certain artists in great depth, tracing their development over time. He was particularly interested in how artists explored different techniques and materials and the auction includes work across a variety of media by artists such as Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, and Paul Jenkins, alongside excellent examples by Bernard Buffet, Raoul Dufy, Jackson Pollock and Jean Dubuffet.
PREVIOUS SINGLE-OWNER EVENT SHATTERS ESTIMATES
The Robert J. Morrison Collection auction, another recent single-owner event from Freemans, finished with a near-perfect 99% sell-through rate. The final sale total was $1,485,837, outperforming the pre-sale high estimate by over $400,000.
Meanwhile, Freemans most recent auction of Modern & Contemporary Art achieved over $1 million, just shy of its pre-sale high estimate. It also attained an impressive 95% sell-through rate. This is the latest in a long string of successes for the department, which has maintained an average sell-through rate of 92% in the last year.
JACKSON POLLOCK PAINTING ONCE THOUGHT LOST RETURNS WITH FREEMANS
The undoubted highlight of the sale is a 1936 painting by Jackson Pollock, depicting the rolling hills and charming farmhouse of a familiar Pennsylvania country scene. Pollocks Pennsylvania Landscape is an exciting discovery, both for the art market and the academic community. Freemans brings this treasure back to the market for the first time in nearly fifty years.
Helen Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, recently described it as a gem, painted while the artist was employed by the Works Progress Administrations Federal Art Project. According to Harrison, Pollock kept Pennsylvania Landscape for himself and brought it to Kansas City to show his influential teacher, Thomas Hart Benton.
Beyond the superlative Pollock painting, The Levine Collection has a significant number of works by two artists: Dutch CoBrA artist Karel Appel and American mid-century abstract artist Paul Jenkins.
Karel Appel was a leading figure and founding member of the mid-century CoBrA art movement. In Big Boy Blue (estimate: $50,000 80,000), a single, central figure is scrawled in lines over stark background planes of yellow, white, and black. Another canvas from 1967, Untitled (Two Heads) (estimate: $40,000 60,000), depicts two visages composed of myriad strokes of pure reds, blues, oranges, and greens.
Paul Jenkins paintings in this collection show the depth and diversity of the American artists work. This includes numerous pieces from the artists best-known, mature style of works. These Phenomena pieces represent the artists interest in color field painting. Phenomena Saracen Shadows (estimate: $12,000-$18,000) is among the captivating examples.
Though Jenkins is best known for this Phenomena style, the Levines also valued his earlier work, which portrayed a somewhat psychedelic abstraction rendered in heavily-applied pigments. Medusa ($12,000-$18,000) shows the distinct contrast between these two styles.