Fine art with Southern touch tops Neal’s Louisiana Purchase Auction
NEW ORLEANS – Neal Auction Co.’s annual Louisiana Purchase Auction, conducted Nov. 21 and 22, achieved $3.84 million and realized multiple record prices.
The signature piece in the auction was a rare 1858 map of the lower Mississippi River, which sold for a record price of $315,999, inclusive of the buyer’s premium. Commonly known as Norman’s Chart, after the name of the publisher, the map gave the name of every landowner and plantation from the city of Natchez south. Prominent landmarks were also noted on the hand-colored chart. Marie Adrien Persac (b. France 1823, d. Manchac, La., 1873) drew the original. A Louisiana collector prevailed over a handful of bidders.
A rare 1860 Bien Edition Folio of John James Audubon’s Birds of America was conceived by the artist’s son, John Woodhouse Audubon, seven years after his father’s death as a reissue of the 435 images of his father’s seminal work. The start of the Civil War, however, put an end to the ambitious project and only 15 of the 44 projected parts were ever produced. Neal Auction Co.’s Bien Edition Folio, which consisted of the first 14 parts, sold to a Louisiana collector for $271,999. The edition is commonly referred to as Bien after the name of its New York chromolithographer Julius Bien.
Another sale highlight was a 1780 portrait miniature of Revolutionary War hero Lt. Col. John Laurens by Charles Willson Peale (American/Pennsylvania, 1741-1827). The 1 1/2-inch miniature saw intense presale interest from around the country, with interest from some of the nation’s finest institutions. The work sold for $109,800 – a record price for a miniature painting by the artist.
A handsome portrait of a Lexington, Kentucky Light Infantryman, which Neal Auction Co. attributed to Jose Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza (Mexico/New Orleans 1750-1802), realized $32,862.
One of Mississippi’s most beloved artists, John McCrady (1911-1968), once again played an important role in a Neal Auction Co. Louisiana Purchase Auction. This year the American Scene Movement was represented in the sale by McCrady’s environmentally visionary painting Sic Transit in which an anthropomorphic cloud ominously casts a shadow over a clear-cut and eroding landscape. The award winning work (1941 Blanche S. Benjamin prize), which succinctly embodies its Latin inspiration; Sic transit gloria mundi, or thus passeth the glory of the world, had multiple phone bidders vying against saleroom competition. The painting sold to a man standing in the back of the room for $107,550.
Carrying an estimate of $30,000-$50,000, an American Impressionist painting titled Live Oak on Broadway by William Woodward (American/New Orleans, 1859-1939) created a sensation when it sold for $107,550.
American genre artist William Aiken Walker (American/Charleston, 1838-1921) was represented by several works at the auction. Taking the lead was a scene titled Cotton Pickers with Wagon and Bales, which sold for $45,410.
A socially provocative watercolor of a young black girl titled Flip Flops and Lace, by Stephen Scott Young (American/Florida, b. 1957) sold for $155,350, the second highest price ever paid at auction for a work by the preeminent watercolorist.
An important collection of Confederate treasury notes from the estate of Fisher E. Simmons Jr. was offered. One highlight was an 1861 T-1 $1,000 note issued from Montgomery, Ala., the first capital of the Confederate States of America. The rare note realized $33,460. A later Richmond, Va., issued Indian Princess $5 note, which is considered to rarest of all the CSA notes, also realized $33,460. Because of its low denomination, the $5 Indian Princess notes suffered from heavy circulation, loss and damage, and only an estimated 76 of the original 7,160 exist today.
A massive Shearwater pottery bowl designed and hand-carved in 1930 by Walter Anderson (American/Mississippi, 1903-1965) was offered. Noteworthy for its impressive size and early uranium glaze, the bowl brought $23,900.
Two watercolors by Anderson fared well. Horn Island: A Triptych, exceeded expectations to achieve $28,680, while Burnt Pines with Ducks brought $15,535.
For more information, phone 504-899-5329 or visit the Neal Auction Co. Web site www.nealauction.com.
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