Freeman's Modern and Contemporary Art auction achieves $1.8 million in sale led by women artists

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Freeman's Modern and Contemporary Art auction achieves $1.8 million in sale led by women artists
Barbara Hepworth, Torso II (Torcello) sold for $642,600. Auction highlight more than doubles its $250,000 pre-sale high estimate.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s announced the results of its May 11 Modern and Contemporary Art auction, which clearly demonstrates Freeman’s strength in the sale of Modern and Contemporary works by significant artists across multiple media. The 54-lot auction achieved over $1.8m, selling all but one lot and eliciting competitive bidding from phone and online buyers.

“There was a strong showing throughout the sale, with interest in paintings, sculpture, prints, and works on paper,” said David Weiss, Head of Sale. “It shows the strength of the market for Modern and Contemporary art, and interest in fine examples by well-known, established artists, with the majority of works being fresh-to-market with strong provenance.”


The auction was marked by significant interest in 20th-century women artists. A floral still life by Maria-Mela Muter—considered the first professional Jewish female painter in Poland—far surpassed its pre-sale high estimate of $18,000 to achieve $53,550 (Lot 4). The sale of Zofia (Sophie) Stryjenska’s Harvest Scene was also impressive, ultimately selling for $44,100 (Lot 5; estimate: $10,000-15,000). But the highlight of the auction was undoubtedly Barbara Hepworth’s Torso II (Torcello), a stunning bronze sculpture that sold for a remarkable $642,600 (Lot 23; estimate: $150,000-250,000). The piece sparked a competitive bidding war between several buyers, underscoring market demand for works by female artists.


Hepworth’s Torso II was far from the only standout sculpture featured at auction; Modern and Contemporary Art saw several bronzes sell above their pre-sale estimates. Fritz König’s Quadriga 60, a bronze with brown patina, nearly quadrupled its pre-sale high estimate of $30,000 to achieve $116,550 (Lot 21). Upright Motive E by British artist Henry Moore sold for $30,240 (Lot 22; estimate: $20,000-30,000); Corn Harvest, a small figurative bronze by American sculptor Allan Houser, achieved $18,900 (Lot 31; estimate: $12,000-18,000).


While the auction featured several exemplary works of Modern and Contemporary abstraction, sales confirmed market demand for figurative works. Portraits performed impressively, including Rudolf Bonnet’s Female Figure, Bali, a portrait of a young woman in red and white chalk (Lot 6, sold for $6,300; estimate: $2,000-3,000). Mother and Child, B. Prabha’s portrait in oil, outshone its pre-sale estimate to achieve $18,270 after garnering significant interest from multiple bidders (Lot 30; estimate: $8,000-12,000). Blonde Vivienne, a Pop Art take on the portrait by Tom Wesselmann, sold for $16,380 (Lot 33; estimate: $10,000-15,000).


A set of twelve works on paper by Salvador Dalí kicked off the auction, exceeding its estimate to achieve $20,160 (Lot 1; estimate: $10,000-15,000); two paintings by Turkish painter Fikret Mualla performed well back-to-back (Lots 27 and 28; sold for $17,640 and $16,380, respectively); prominent Philadelphia abstractionist Bill Scott’s Honeysuckle sold for $9,450 (Lot 56; estimate: $4,000-6,000).

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