Freeman's

Department Specialist


Published: 7 December 2015

New Pinnacle for Freeman’s: American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists Auction Totals $4 million

The salesroom was packed for yesterday’s American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction.  Exceeding expectations the sale realized $4,066,410 million, the highest total for this department at Freeman’s since its inception in 2013. Drawing a great deal of attention during traveling exhibitions to London, New York and the Philadelphia area, the top lot of the day was Andrew Wyeth's painting "Winter Corn Fields" sold for $1,145,000. This impressive work, rarely seen since in public since its initial accquisition in the early 1940s, had never been brought to auction before.

“We are delighted with the results of the sale-our highest total to date and the Wyeth is our first million dollar lot of American Art. There was a buzz in the saleroom and all of our top lots went to private collectors,” said Freeman’s vice chairman and head of fine art Alasdair Nichol. “ I am very pleased with the 83% sell through rate which I believe exceeds the recent American Art auctions in New York. These sales continue to attract new clients beyond the assumed American buyer base.”

The offerings of works by American Art icons received careful consideration by collectors and institutions alike. Small in size, but rich in color, the dream-like “Blue Fountain” by Maxfield Parrish was chased after and with the perseverance of a private collector it finally realized $317,000. Another diminutive but significant work was "Study of a Spectator for 'Taking the Count'" by Thomas Eakins. It is an intimate study of an onlooker in Eakins large-scale masterpiece "Taking the Count,"  part of the Yale University Art Gallery Whitney Collection of Sporting Art. This painting achieved $46,875, doubling its original auction estimate.

Most of the notable lots in the sale,  by Wyeth, Parrish and Eakins, are artists with Pennsylvania roots and connections. Following that theme were the Pennsylvania Impressionists Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield. This portion of the auction achieved a total of $1,127,600 and an impressive 89% sell-through. Both of the top works by Garber are cited in the artist’s catalogue raisonné: “The Mary Maxwell House” went above its estimate selling for $293,000 (the third highest price in the sale) and “Quarries at the Crossing” fetched $161,000. Edward Redfield’s “The South Window” sold for $93,750. Freeman's is the only auction house with a specialty category dedicated to this collecting genre, and the proven results from past sales of works by these and other Pennsylvania artists has served to reinforce the popularity of the group.

“Winter Corn Fields” was only one of the works from The Estate of Nancy duPont Reynolds Cooch, childhood friend of Andrew Wyeth and his wife Betsy on offer Sunday. Two other Wyeth works from this estate attracted fierce bidding, “Young Buck” fetched $125,000, four times its estimate of $30,000-50,000 and “Gray Barn” brought $65,000.

All three generations of Wyeth’s were represented in the sale and all achieved results above pre-auction estimates. Jamie Wyeth’s dry brush and mixed media on paper, “We’ve Got Your Pickle,” enticed competitive bidding, finally selling to a client in the room for $209,000 against a $40,000-60,000 estimate.  Works by his grandfather N.C. Wyeth drew similar interest with “Country Lane” realizing $40,625, “A Cavalier” sold for $23,400 and the surprise was “View of Kelp Beds, Port Clyde” fetching $24,700, six times its estimate.

Freeman’s continued its efforts to reach the best and broadest audience by travelling highlights to New York and London before the exhibition in Philadelphia. This resulted in an increase of bidders and buyers and drew the highest paddle registration for a fine art sale. Collectors from more than 20 countries from Singapore to Switzerland were registered, resulting in a 15% spike in new clients.  This is triple the number of new buyers from the past year. The biannual auctions of American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists have brought almost $16 million in 36 months, cementing Freeman’s reputation for bringing quality fine American art to auction.

Top Lots from American & Pennsylvania Impressionists, December 6, 2015

  • Lot 81                    $1,145,000
    ANDREW WYETH, (AMERICAN 1917-2009), WINTER CORN FIELDS
  • Lot 35                    $317,000
    MAXFIELD PARRISH, (AMERICAN 1870-1966), BLUE FOUNTAIN (STUDY FOR REVERIES)
  • Lot 108                 $293,000
    DANIEL GARBER, (AMERICAN 1880-1958), THE MARY MAXWELL HOUSE (THE MILK WAGON)
  • Lot 85                    $209,000
    JAMIE WYETH, (AMERICAN B. 1946), WE’VE GOT YOUR PICKLE
  • Lot 114                 $161,000
    DANIEL GARBER, (AMERICAN 1880-1958), QUARRIES AT THE CROSSING
  • Lot 82                    $125,000
    ANDREW WYETH, (AMERICAN 1917-2009), YOUNG BUCK
  • Lot 119                 $93,750
    EDWARD WILLIS REDFIELD, (AMERICAN 1869-1965), THE SOUTH WINDOW

View Prices Realized

The next American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionist auction will be held June, 2016. For more information regarding selling works in this sale, please contact:
Alasdair Nichol | 267.414.1211 | anichol@freemansauction.com

IMAGES: MAXFIELD PARRISH, (AMERICAN 1870-1966), BLUE FOUNTAIN (STUDY FOR REVERIES); ANDREW WYETH, (AMERICAN 1917-2009), WINTER CORN FIELDS; JAMIE WYETH, (AMERICAN B. 1946), WE’VE GOT YOUR PICKLE

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