MILFORD, Connecticut -- 21 May 2014
MILFORD, Conn. – Four vibrant and colorful paintings by the renowned American Pop artist LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012) sold for a combined $279,600 at a sale of fine American and European paintings, drawings and sculptures held May 1st by Shannon's Fine Art Auctioneers, in the firm’s gallery located at 354 Woodmont Road in Milford. The auction grossed $2.5 million.
One of the paintings, a brilliantly colored early 1958 Neiman work titled The Gambling Set, showing a confluence of Las Vegas roulette wheels, was the auction’s top lot, soaring to $162,000. The other paintings were an enamel and acrylic on board titled Toreador ($50,400); a 1976 work titled Olympic Hurdlers ($40,800); and, from 1980, Olympic Ski Jump ($26,400).
“LeRoy Neiman has become an American icon in the art world. His prices are climbing fast due to strong collector interest,” said Gene Shannon of Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers. Of the sale overall, he said, “The market is solid at all price ranges. There was as much interest in the lower-priced art as there was for the more expensive paintings. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Mr. Shannon said there was interest in all categories, to include American landscape and coastal works, Impressionism, Regionalism, Ashcan School, European Modern and American Modern, and 19th century European. Just over 250 artworks came up for bid in an auction that reported a 76 percent sell-through. About 1,250 bidders participated over the internet, via Invaluable.com.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
A pair of outstanding paintings realized identical selling prices of $78,000. The first was a large Manhattan scene with horse carriages and pedestrians by Paul Cornoyer, titled Rainy Day, New York. The dark Tonalist work hit $78,000 (its high estimate). Cornoyer was born in Missouri but studied art in Paris. He returned to America, where he became famous for his New York scenes.
The second painting was by the English-born American painter John George Brown, whose Girl With Doll depicted a young girl at the vine-covered door to her home. She is holding a doll in one hand and an umbrella in the other. Brown trained in England and Scotland before emigrating to this country in 1853. He’s best known for his renderings of hardscrabble urban street urchins.
“The paintings by Blanch Lazzell were as if from a time capsule,” Mr. Shannon said of the noted Provincetown artist. “They remained in her family until this auction.” The works sold included a classic woodcut of a small dory docked on a pier titled Provincetown Studios ($44,400); a stylized oil on canvas titled Petunias ($45,600); and a still life of a vase with flowers ($24,000).
Paintings by Jane Peterson were offered at the beginning of the auction and really got paddles wagging. A colorful rendering, pulled from a private collection and titled Zinnias in a Vase, was conservatively estimated at $7,000-$10,000. It ended up bringing $50,400. A gouache work by the artist, showing New York’s City Hall in a park setting with workers taking lunch hit $10,000.
Two paintings posted selling prices of $72,000. One was a coastal scene by Alfred Thompson Bricher, depicting sparkling blue water, a craggy coastline and a small boat sailing into port. The other was a study of circles and color by Victor Vasarely, the acknowledged grandfather of the Op Art movement, titled Stri-Arc (1974). The 31-inch-square painting sold to a bidder in France.
Another pair of paintings also posted identical selling prices, of $45,600. The first was a portrait of a young girl in a wooded setting, watching over her flock of geese, by Czechoslovakian artist Wenceslas Vaclav Von Brozik. The work sailed past its pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$7,000. The other was a New York City Impressionist street scene, titled Wall Street, by Lawrence Campbell.
From the sculptures category, Louise Nevelson’s painted wood composition titled Cryptic XXX, an unusual black painted creation with inset mirrors, went for nearly double its estimate, fetching $28,800. Returning to paintings, a small oil painting by the burgeoning Hawaiian artist David Hitchcock, measuring 9 inches by 17 inches and titled Kilauea Erupting, hammered for $27,600.
An untitled 30 inch by 40 inch “drip painting” oil on canvas by Rolph Scarlett (an artist featured in many of Shannon’s past auctions and a favorite with bidders) changed hands for $24,000. Also, an unusual mixed media on newsprint blue hued abstract by Paul Thek coasted to $26,400. Thek painted primarily on newsprint, which deteriorates rapidly, making his works quite rare.
A 1980 ink and acrylic on paper by Chinese artist Chao Chung-Hsiang went to a phone bidder in China for $21,600. It had been gifted to the consignor by the artist while he was living in New York City. Also, a view of Niagara Falls by Ferdinand Richardt (smaller than his monumental views of the Falls offered in previous Shannon’s sales), went to a determined bidder for $18,000.
Additional top achievers included a large, double-sided monochromatic watercolor of a woman walking past a tavern, with other figures, by Reginald Marsh, done in 1946 ($19,200); a still life oil painting by Albert Frances King, showing oranges and grapes ($11,000); and another still life oil painting, this one by Bryant Chapin, depicting a large selection of fruit atop a table ($9,000).
Historically, Shannon’s has specialized in American and European art executed between 1840 and 1940. In recent years the firm has expanded more into post-war modern and pop art. Shannon’s produces an extensive color catalog, which is available for sale on their website (www.shannons.com);. The firm holds two sales a year. The next sale will be held October 23rd.
Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single piece of artwork, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them at (203) 877-1711; or, you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers and the firm’s upcoming calendar of events, please log on to www.shannons.com.
Shannon's Fine Art Auctioneers
P: (203) 877-1711