Judson’s ‘Bird Girl’ soars to record $390K at Freeman’s June 6 auction

Sylvia Shaw Judson, ‘Bird Girl,’ which sold for $390,600 and a world auction record for the artist

Sylvia Shaw Judson, ‘Bird Girl,’ which sold for $390,600 and a world auction record for the artist

PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s is pleased to announce the results of its June 6 American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, which far outperformed its overall estimate to achieve an impressive sale result of nearly $3.5 million. The 89-lot auction featured a 91% sell-through rate and multiple standout sales, confirming Freeman’s strength in presenting important American art at auction. Between December 2020 and June 2021, Freeman’s has achieved their best year yet for American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists: with more than $10 million realized for fewer than 200 lots.

“I am extremely pleased with the strong results obtained Sunday, which contributed to Freeman’s most successful year for American Art yet,” said Chairman Alasdair Nichol. “We continue to prove our ability to sell fresh-to-market works from private collections, and I am pleased to announce a significant collection of Pennsylvania Impressionists coming up in our December sale, for which we are already accepting consignments.”

Outdoor installation of Judson’s record-setting ‘Bird Girl’ sculpture

Outdoor installation of Judson’s record-setting ‘Bird Girl’ sculpture

Bird Girl outperforms estimates and sets new record

The auction featured the historic sale of Sylvia Shaw Judson’s Bird Girl, a highlight. The sculpture, offered at auction for the first time, commanded an impressive price of $390,600, setting an auction record for Judson’s work. A quintessential American sculpture, Bird Girl is immediately recognizable from the image that graced the cover of the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and it garnered significant interest from multiple individual and institutional bidders. It ultimately was purchased by a private collector through Olde Hope Antiques in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Norman Rockwell, ‘Piney Rest Motel (Cozy Rest Motel),’ which sold for $478,800

Norman Rockwell, ‘Piney Rest Motel (Cozy Rest Motel),’ which sold for $478,800

Rockwell painting inspires competitive bidding

Piney Rest Motel (Cozy Rest Motel), a painting by the American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell, was the auction’s top lot, more than tripling its pre-sale high estimate for a result of $478,800. The sale was marked by interest across the board that culminated in a tense bidding war between two telephone buyers; in the end, it was purchased by a private collector. Its impressive sale price—as well as Freeman’s $514,000 result for a Rockwell painting in its December 2020 auction—underscores ongoing market demand for illustration art, as well as Freeman’s ability to deliver strong results.

Albert York, ‘Still Life: Green Apples,’ which sold for $239,400

Albert York, ‘Still Life: Green Apples,’ which sold for $239,400

Sale of rare Albert York works breaks world auction record

The auction featured six works by the American painter Albert York—an important milestone, as never before have so many works by the artist been offered at the same time. This selection—which came from a private Reading, Pennsylvania collection—commanded fantastic results, with all six works selling well above their pre-sale estimates; the total sale for this suite of works was $685,440. Still Life: Green Apples sold for $239,400, nearly four times its pre-sale estimate of $60,000, shattering the previous world auction record of $163,000 for York’s work. Pink Rose on a Yellow Ground, the sale’s sole watercolor by York, sets a new auction record for a works on paper by York at $11,340. Reflections in the Pond commanded $163,800, and Jar of Wildflowers realized $100,800, overall marking a historic sale of York works.

Daniel Garber, ‘Houses – Shannonville,’ which sold for $189,000


Daniel Garber, ‘Houses – Shannonville,’ which sold for $189,000

Additional highlights:

The auction also featured strong results for Pennsylvania Impressionists: George William Sotter’s A Bucks County Landmark sold for $163,800, and Daniel Garber’s Houses – Shannonville, which sold for $189,000. It was a strong sale for women artists: Helen Maria Turner’s The End of My Porch nearly tripled its pre-sale high estimate to achieve $88,200; two works by Martha Walters sold for a total of $113,400; Mary Elizabeth Price’s Mallows sold for $75,600; and three works by Fern Isabel Coppedge commanded a total of $210,420.

 

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