Freeman’s Modern, Contemporary Art auction tops $2.8M

Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015), ‘Lemon Branch [4],’ 1964, pencil on paper. Sold for $181,250. Freeman’s image

PHILADELPHIA – Freeman’s Modern and Contemporary Art sale held on Oct. 29 and the Collection of Robert J. Morrison sale held on Oct. 30, were resounding successes. Sale totals combined reached over $2.8 million. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The auctions featured many lots that spanned multiple media across several collecting genres including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and prints and multiples.

Among the significant highlights from the Modern and Contemporary Art auction were several works from the distinguished collection of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Oldenburg.

The entire collection sold for $304,687, which more than doubled the presale low estimate total. Most notable was a pencil drawing by American artist Ellsworth Kelly titled Lemon Branch [4] (above), which achieved an auction record for a pencil work by the artist and sold for $181,250 tripling its low estimate of $60,000.

The Collection of Robert J. Morrison enjoyed a standing room only crowd and a 100 percent sell-through rate, nearly doubling its presale estimate totals and affirming Freeman’s strong expertise in selling collections of this kind. A celebrated advertising executive as well as a passionate collector and philanthropist, Morrison amassed hundreds of cherished graphic works, ranging from vintage postcards and gallery announcements to rare prints and multiples.

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997), ‘Sweet Dreams, Baby!’ color screenprint. Price realized: $143,750. Freeman’s image

=The sale featured a number of highlights, including two works by American Pop Art icon Roy Lichtenstein, Sweet Dreams Baby! (Lot 26), which sold for $143,750 on an estimate of $60,000-$100,000; and Crying Girl, (Lot 6) which achieved $62,500 against an estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997), ‘Crying Girl,’ 1963, color offset lithograph. Price realized: $62,500. Freeman’s image

Another noteworthy work by Pop Art legend Andy Warhol was his color screenprint Flowers, (Lot 65), which sold for an impressive $65,625 against its original estimate of $25,000-$35,000.


Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), ‘Flowers,’ 1970, color screenprint. Sold for $65,625. Freeman’s image

Other highlights included Robert Longo’s Rick (Lot 76), a screenprint which brought $35,000, over tripling its low estimate; and Rodeo by Ed Rucha (Lot 83), which achieved $21,250 against an estimate of $6,000-$10,000.

More noteworthy works sold in the Modern and Contemporary Art sale included an important work on paper by American artist Helen Frankenthaler, Red Hot, (below) which garnered $137,500; and another work on paper by Chinese/French artist Zao Wou Kifrom from his Oracle Bones series, Untitled, (Lot 27) which brought an impressive $93,750.

Helen Frankenthaler, ‘Red Hot,’ 2002, acrylic on paper. Sold for $137,500. Freeman’s image

“Freeman’s was honored to present for sale Pop prints, multiples, graphics and books from the estate of Philadelphia collector and philanthropist, Robert J. Morrison today. The packed saleroom and high prices were a testament to Bob’s keen eye and generous spirit as both local bidders and those from great distances vied for works from his important and eclectic collection,” said Anne Henry, Freeman’s vice president, head of sale.