Corporate collection tops estimates at Rago art auction

David Novros (American, b. 1941), Untitled, 1971, oil on canvas (three panels); 120 1/2in. x 265 1/2in. (total). Price realized: $150,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – Rago Arts and Auction Center’s November Fine Art Auctions brought in $3.1 million in sales Nov. 11. The highest price achieved by a single work went to Lot 243, an untitled work by David Novros, which sold for $150,000 against an estimate of $40,000-$60,000 – breaking the record for highest price ever achieved for a work by the artist at auction. Absentee and Internet bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The Novros painting (above) was part of the single-owner segment, Property from the Collection of an Important American Corporation, which exceeded the high estimate, realizing $946,156 in sales for 75 lots and achieving a 100 percent sell-through rate – earning it coveted “White Glove Sale” status.

Highlights include Lot 210, Soundings by Theodoros Stamos (below), which sold for $96,000 against an estimate of $35,000-$55,000; Lot 213, an untitled wool tapestry by Sonia Delaunay, which sold for $53,125, more than five times its high estimate of $10,000.

Theodoros Stamos (American/Greek, 1922-1997), ‘Soundings,’ oil on canvas (framed), 60 1/4in. x 50in. Price realized: $96,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

This session also acheived several high prices for editions by Ellsworth Kelly including Lot 200, Colored Paper Image V (Blue Curves), which sold for $36,250 against an estimate of $8,000-$12,000; Lot 217,18 Colors (Cincinnati), which sold for $33,750 against an estimate of $15,000-$25,000; Lot 256, Grape Leaves III, which sold for $28,750, more than four times its high estimate of $6,000; and Lot 241, Blue Curve from Fans, which sold for $21,250 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000.

Friedel Dzubas (American/German, 1915-1994), ‘Norland,’ 1980, acrylic on canvas (framed, 72in. x 72in. Price realized: $100,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

Rago’s session of Postwar and Contemporary Art saw strong prices across the board. Highlights include Lot 653, Norland (above) by Friedel Dzubas, which sold for $100,000 against an estimate of $50,000-$70,000; Lot 516, Alexander Calder’s Billows (below), which sold for $100,000 against an estimate of $50,000-$80,000; Lot 530, Bird Study by Robert Motherwell, which sold for $46,875 against an estimate of $25,000-$35,000; Lot 739, Caio Fonseca’s Tenth Street #7, which sold for $56,250 against an estimate of $15,000-$25,000; and Lot 566, Blocks by Betty Parsons, which defied a high estimate of $1,200 to sell for $12,500. Also of note: Lots 697 and 698, drawings on paper by Chris Van Allsburg from the Allan Stone Collection, which sold for $20,000 each against estimates of $3,000-$5,000.

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), ‘Billows,’ 1967; gouache and ink on paper (framed), 29 3/8in. x 43 1/4in. Estimate: $100,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

Rago’s session of American and European art also included several fine works that surpassed expectations and soared past estimates, including Lot 4, an untitled landscape by Worthington (Thomas) Whittredge (below), which sold for $68,750 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000; Lot 155, Hale Aspacio Woodruff’s Marisa in Vogue, which sold for $28,750, more than twice the high estimate of $12,000; Lot 44, Storefront by Edward Hopper, which sold for $15,000 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000; Lot 39, La Cloisonné by Hubert Vos, which sold for $22,500 against an estimate of $8,000-$12,000; Lot 22, an untitled watercolor and pencil on paper by Erich Heckel, which sold for $15,000 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000; and Lot 85, John Fabian Carlson’s Woodland Silence which sold for $18,750 against an estimate of $10,000-$12,000.

Worthington (Thomas) Whittredge (American, 1820-1910), Untitled, oil on canvas (framed), 15 1/4in. x 23 1/8in. Price realized: $68,750. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

Throughout the day, auction records were also broken for the artists Doug Ohlson, James Turrell (record price for a work on paper), Betty Parsons (record price for a painting and tied record for sculpture), Edna Andrade (below), Louise Nevelson (record price for the Dark Ellipse multiple), Harry Bowden, Danica Phelps, Herman Cherry, Alan Shields (record price for a work on paper), Pat Steir (record price for a print), Alfred Jensen (record price for prints), Alice Dalton Brown, William Garbe, Gordon Hart, Katherine Bradford and Max Miller, David Fertig, and Marian McIntosh.

Edna Andrade (American, 1917-2008), ‘Fortress,’ 1992, acrylic on canvas (framed), 72in. x 72 in. Price realized: $33,750. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

“The November sales were strong across the board with enthusiasm for work in every category,” said Meredith Hilferty, Rago’s director of Fine Art. “I was thrilled by the success of our single-owner session. Every single lot found a buyer, and we were elated to see such strong prices for this prestigious collection.”