Christie’s announces the Spring American Art auctions, with a live auction on May 22 and a concurrent online sale taking place from May 15-22. The sales are distinguished by private collections including The Collection of Joan and Preston Robert Tisch, The Estate of Robert A. Mann and the Mann Family, and the Collection of Mandell & Madeleine Berman, among others.
The top lot of the sale is Georgia O’Keeffe’s seminal work, Hibiscus, painted in 1939 during her three-month Hawaiian sojourn at the behest of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (estimated: $4,000,000-6,000,000). Composed of brilliant and varying hues, Hibiscus is an affirmation of O’Keeffe’s color theory and epitomizes the brilliance of the artist’s Hawaiian works that excited such praise from contemporary critics.
Highlighting the works by Norman Rockwell in the sale is Piano Tuner, painted in 1947, and gifted to the boy depicted in the painting, Andrew Smith. As payment for his work, Rockwell gave young Smith, only eight years old at the time, $5 to model for him. Works from a private Midwestern Collection include Childe Hassam’s Conversation on the Avenue and George Wesley Bellow’s Evening Blue (Tending the Lobster Traps. Early morning) (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000 and $1,000,000-1,500,000). Modernist works in the sale include Milton Avery’s Red Nude (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000) and General MacArthur on the Rocks (estimate: $20,000-30,000), both from the Collection of Joan and Preston Robert Tisch. Western Art in the sale features works by Thomas Moran, Newell Convers Wyeth, Gerard Curtis Delano and Oscar Edmund Berninghaus, among others.
The American Art online auction features paintings, sculpture and works on paper from some of the most noteworthy American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, from Milton Avery and ‘Grandma’ Moses to Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. With estimates starting under $5,000, this sale is an excellent opportunity for those at the start of their collecting journey as well as seasoned connoisseurs. Bidding opens on 15 May, and the works will be on view in Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries from May19-21.