DALLAS – G. (Gerald Harvey Jones) Harvey’s When Cowboys Don’t Change, 1993 sold for $516,500, surpassing the previous world record for a painting by the artist and claiming top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ American Art auction on Nov. 8 in Dallas. With 11 lots bringing six-figure results, the total for the auction, which boasted a sell-through rate of 90.32 percent by value, climbed to $4,010,875. Absentee and Internet live bidding wass available through LiveAuctioneers.
“We witnessed feverish and competitive bidding across categories, especially in the arenas of Western Art and Golden Age Illustration,” said Aviva Lehmann, Heritage Auctions’ director of American art. “We had multiple bidders on each of our top lots and are thrilled with the results. Not only were records set, but we found wonderful new homes for terrific material.”
Legendary American artist Norman Rockwell produced three of the auction’s top 11 lots. Multiple bidders pursued Rockwell’s Girl with Black Eye (The Shiner), The Saturday Evening Post cover study, 1953, until it sold for $275,000. The painting is yet another example of Rockwell challenging traditional gender roles by showing a girl on the receiving end of a black eye. The grin on her face suggests she might have gotten the upper hand in a schoolyard scrap, but in the 1950s, the idea of a girl fighting was, at the very least, unusual. Rockwell reportedly added elements to the painting, including the black eye as well as the principal and secretary conferring in the background on how to handle the situation, after the original painting. An oil on photographic paper laid on panel, this 10¾-by-9¾-inch painting is signed “Norman Rockwell” in the lower right corner.
She Said It for a Lifetime (Man Receiving Gift Watch), an Elgin Watches advertisement, 1926, brought $250,000. The image was created as an Elgin Watch Co. advertisement that appeared first in the June 1926 edition of Ladies Home Journal, and then in The Saturday Evening Post magazine’s July 17, 1926 edition. Through Rockwell’s image, Elgin tapped into the progressive idea of the purchasing power of women, several decades before many other companies embraced the idea. This 20-by-27-inch oil-on-canvas painting comes from the Collection of Bradley and Susan Schuchat, who have earmarked the proceeds for two scholarships, including a nursing scholarship at the University of Central Florida, in the name of their late daughter, Diane, who would have been a student there.
Multiple bidders boosted the sale price for Joseph Christian Leyendecker’s Drum Major, the cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post’s Sept. 24, 1921 edition, to $193,750. The painting was one of 322 illustrations Leyendecker completed for the magazine.
Numerous bidders also drove the final price for Jessie Willcox Smith’s Among the Poppies, The Child in a Garden, an interior illustration for the December 1903 edition of Scribner’s Magazine, to more than twice its estimate when it finished at $137,500. Renowned for her ability as an illustrator, Smith was a contributor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Collier’s, Harper’s, Good Housekeeping and the long-running Mother Goose series. This 24-by-16-inch painting is in watercolor, oil and charcoal on board, and signed in the lower left.
Glenna Goodacre’s The Rescue also drew multiple bids before closing at $137,500. The Texan sculptor’s monumental bronze captures the pure innocence and joy of youthful days, depicting two children climbing a tree to save a cat while their two peers instruct from below. Goodacre’s legacy of her public sculptures established her as one of the most prized sculptors of the American West. Her art appears in public, private, municipal and museum collections throughout the U.S.
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
– Olaf Wieghorst, Beef Herd: $125,000;
– Birger Sandzén, Sunset, circa 1923: $118,750;
– Jessie Willcox Smith, Five O’clock Tea, The Child in a Garden, Scribner’s Magazine interior illustration, December 1903: $112,500;
– Walter Ufer, At Ease, 1926: $106,250;
– Rockwell’s Hope It’s a New Plymouth, a Chrysler Corp. advertisement: $106,250.