Ernie Barnes soars past estimate at Bonhams American Art sale

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Ernie Barnes soars past estimate at Bonhams American Art sale
Achieving $882,375, The Maestro was held privately since 1974 by the Los Angeles Athletic club. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Maestro, a stellar painting, by Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) flew past its estimate and achieved spectacular results when it sold for $882,375 at Bonhams American Art sale on Thursday, May 26. Currently experiencing a surge in recognition and appreciation for his body of work, Barnes was an American painter and former NFL player who was known for his unique style of elongation and movement which is beautifully showcased in this work. Appearing as the cover artwork for The Crusader’s 1984 album, The Maestro, painted circa 1971, depicts a solitary figure brimming with anticipation as he prepares himself to passionately conduct the music spilling from the antique radio placed in front of him.

Additional sale highlights:

• A triumph within the artists oeuvre of Spanish subjects with whom he was captivated, La Mora by Robert Henri (1865-1929) sold for $409,875. As is the case in this work, Henri embraced the less fortunate in Spanish society whose lives were marked by harsh circumstances and portrayed them with masterful dignity.

• Breezing more than ten times past its estimate, The Two Mills by Robert Spencer (1879-1931) is an excellent example of his ability to utilize light in interesting ways, it sold for $157,875.

• Valley of the Seine, Giverny, a grand scale painting, by Theodore Earl Butler (1861-1936) sold for $107,475. The work is a vibrant bird's eye perspective of the village where Butler had his studio and studied under the Impressionist master Claude Monet.

• Two works by Sally Michel Avery (1902-2003) performed well beyond estimates with Young Mother and Mother in Blue each achieving $28,050. A modernist painter and illustrator, Avery in collaboration with her husband, Milton Avery, created a distinct style of simplified graphic forms and vibrant, but unusual color combinations that defined both their work.

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