Despite the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Freeman’s has maintained very strong results across departments, broken several world auction records and set new house records since the beginning of 2021.
07/16/2021 Latest News, News and Film, American Art, Asian Arts, Books and Manuscripts, European Art and Old Masters, Modern and Contemporary Art, Pennsylvania Impressionists
Freeman’s is pleased to reflect on the many successes of its Spring/Summer 2021 auction season. Despite the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Freeman’s has not only maintained its standing, but deepened its relationships with clients, expanded its team with newly created positions, and broken several world auction records so far this year.
“Looking back on the first half of 2021 at Freeman’s, I am exceptionally proud of the results we have achieved,” said Alasdair Nichol, Freeman’s Chairman. “We’ve seen remarkable sale successes and shattered numerous records, and at the same time expanded the range and quality of our client services. We take the trust of our clients very seriously, and continue to deliver excellent results in return.”
After quickly and nimbly pivoting in 2020 from in-person to digital auction sales in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Freeman’s has continued to build on its successes stemming from this flexibility. Freeman’s was one of the first houses that decided to switch to online-only auctions rather than cancel or postpone its sales when lockdowns first began in March 2020. Freeman’s successes cut against the grain of larger market trends—over the past year and a half, global auction sales have dropped by 30% overall and 27.8% in the United States. That Freeman’s has continued to grow, breaking records along the way, in the midst of global turmoil speaks to its commitment to providing uninterrupted service to its consignors and deepening trust-based relationships with clients across the world.
Freeman’s February 23 European Art & Old Masters auction realized over $6.4M, nearly quadrupling its pre-sale high estimate and marking the best sale total Freeman’s has ever recorded. A highlight of the auction was the sale of Carl Moll’s White Interior, which sold to a private American collector for $4.7M—Freeman’s highest selling lot to date and a world auction record for the artist. Says David Weiss, Head of Sale, “It was a privilege to have been entrusted with such an exceptional work, which had been in the same family for over a hundred years; the consignors are understandably thrilled.”
In a historic July 1 single-lot auction, Freeman’s achieved a remarkable $4.42M for a signer’s copy of the Declaration of Independence, exceeding by a remarkable five times its pre-sale high estimate of $800,000. The rare copy of William J. Stone’s 1823 printing of the document was rediscovered in Scotland by Freeman’s sister auction house, Lyon & Turnbull, and the alliance between the two houses underscores Freeman’s strength in the international market. The result marks the second-highest price ever paid at auction for any copy of the Declaration of Independence, and is the highest price ever paid at auction for an American document printed in the 19th century—achievements befitting Philadelphia’s auction house, founded less than thirty years after the birth of the nation.
Freeman’s June 6 American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists auction also far outperformed its pre-sale overall estimate to achieve nearly $3.5M. Between December 2020 and June 2021, our American Art department has achieved over $10M in less than 200 lots, in what Chairman Alasdair Nichol calls “Freeman’s most successful year for American Art yet.” The June 6 auction featured the historic sale of Sylvia Shaw Judson’s Bird Girl, offered at auction for the first time, which commanded an impressive $390,600, as well as a recently discovered Norman Rockwell painting that sold for $478,000. It also included six works by American painter Albert York, the sales of which broke previously held world auction records for works by the artist; the total sale for this suite of works was $685,440.
Freeman’s April 8 Asian Arts auction was a season highlight, achieving over $3M total with a 91% sell-through rate—an exceptional result. A red-underglaze Meiping “Dragons and Waves” commanded more than nine times its pre-sale high estimate, selling for $2.3M. “We’re absolutely thrilled that Freeman’s is able to offer such a fine and well-curated collection of Asian art,” says Head of Department Ben Farina, “including various porcelains, jades, and other works of art.” Asian Arts confirmed Freeman’s prominence and expertise in the presentation of these works, and their strong market demand.
After a successful Spring/Summer 2021 auction season, Freeman’s is pleased to present a robust Fall/Winter sale season including the auction debut of a private collection of seven sculptures by celebrated artist François-Xavier Lalanne in our November 17 Modern and Contemporary Art auction. Anchored by a set of five of Lalanne’s iconic epoxy stone and bronze sheep, or Mouton de Pierre, each sculpture in the collection was acquired directly from the artist in the late 1980s and has remained in the same home ever since. The collection, coming from a prominent Washington, D.C. family, includes five Mouton de Pierre of consecutive numbers from a 1988 edition of 250 (estimate: $100,000-150,000 ea.), a patinated bronze Rhinocéros III (estimate: $60,000-80,000), and a patinated bronze Éléphant (estimate: $40,000-60,000).
Also on the upcoming auction calendar: Books and Manuscripts on September 23, Asian Arts on October 14; Jewelry and Watches on October 28; American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts featuring the Historic American Flag Collection of Jeffrey Kenneth Kohn, MD on November 10; American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists featuring a fine group of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings with works by Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, Fern Isabel Coppedge and Morgan Colt from the distinguished Collection of Stuart and Virginia Peltz on December 5; and Design on December 8.