On Sunday, June 9, Freeman’s held its inaugural auction of American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists. The sale attracted competitive online auction bidding from both private collectors and museums, and the 38 paintings from the Pennsylvania Impressionists section achieved $668,373 total. Top lots included George William Sotter’s “Covered Bridge, Winter,” which sold for $122,500 and “Steel Mills, Pittsburgh” by Frederick R. Wagner, which achieved a world auction record at $45,000—more than doubling the previous one from 2003.
“Freeman’s has been selling Pennsylvania Impressionists dating back to when the artists were still alive and working. We are the world leader in this market and have posted auction records for Pennsylvania Impressionists from Fern Coppedge and Kenneth Nunamaker to Roy Nuse and Antonio Martino,” said Freeman’s Vice Chairman and Fine Art Department Head Alasdair Nichol. “There was a noticeable uptick in the number of Pennsylvania Impressionists works consigned for this inaugural sale,” Nichol continued.
Additionally, the rare offering of 59 paintings by Walter Stuempfig from The Forbes Collection was sold to a standing-room-only crowd. This collection was amassed by noted art connoisseur and business-man Malcolm Forbes and subsequently by his family. Several paintings were acquired by the Woodmere Art Museum, an organization known for its focus on Pennsylvania artists from the Delaware Valley. Stuempfig, who was recognized for his moody atmospheric works, frequently used Philadelphia and its surrounding regions in his compositions. “We were delighted to exhibit and sell Stuempfig’s works in his hometown. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Chairman Samuel “Beau” Freeman.