Pair of Paintings by Mary Elizabeth Price Achieve a Record $306,250 at Doyle

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Highlighting the sale were a pair of floral paintings by Mary Elizabeth Price that achieved $306,250

On April 18, 2018, Doyle held a successful auction of American Paintings, Furniture & Decorative Arts. This auction category is Doyle’s premier venue for 19th and early 20th century American paintings, including Hudson River School landscapes, Western and Regional art, still lifes, portraits, nautical scenes and Folk paintings.

Highlighting the sale were a pair of floral paintings by Mary Elizabeth Price that achieved $306,250 — A World Auction Record for the Artist. The works were purchased by the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Stated Gregory Church, the President of the Board of Trustees of the Michener Art Museum, “Elizabeth Price is one of the region’s most revered artists, and we are ecstatic to add Flower Border I and Flower Border II to the permanent collection of the Michener Art Museum. The cornerstone of our collection is Pennsylvania Impressionism, and the purchase of these stunning pieces significantly advances our mission to present to the public the remarkable art and artistic legacies of this region. We couldn’t be more proud to acquire and showcase this spectacular work by one of the leading women artists of the early 20th century, who was a prominent figure in the legendary Philadelphia Ten.” 

The James A. Michener Art Museum is a vibrant cultural center in Doylestown, PA, dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of the Delaware Valley region. Welcoming 135,000 visitors each year, the Michener has emerged as a leading museum of American art, showcasing a world-class collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings as well as many special and permanent exhibitions that include the work of historical and contemporary painters, sculptors, photographers, and furniture designers.

The daughter of a Quaker family with roots in the Shenandoah Valley, Mary Elizabeth Price (1877-1965) is best known for her highly decorative paintings of floral panels, often with metal leaf backgrounds. For much of her adult life, Price lived in a cottage on the banks of the Delaware River and was an active member of the vibrant artists community in Bucks County that also included Daniel Garber and John Folinsbee.

Also selling strongly was Milking Time by Roger Medearis, which fetched $81,250. In the late 1930s, Roger Medearis (1920-2001) studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Kansas City Art Institute and embraced the medium of egg tempera. Milking Time, from 1946, was executed in egg tempera on board and incorporates stylized forms and undulating lines reminiscent of his teacher. In their March 13 Fine Paintings auction, Doyle offered Loading Fodder, a work from 1947-48 by Roger Medearis, which sold for the identical price of $81,250.

With competitive bidding in the salesroom, on the telephones and on the Internet, the April 18 sale totaled a strong $1,225,344, surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $706,500-1,069,200, with an impressive 89% sold by lot and 95% sold by value.

Doyle’s May 9 auction of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War & Contemporary Art will include works by American artists of the late 19th century through the current day.

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