The major focus of the auction was from American purchasers who competed in droves on an impressive group of 64 John James Audubon Havell edition prints from The Birds of America.
“On the artist’s last visit to New Orleans, in 1837, the French language edition of the Courier referred to Audubon as ‘L’auteur, né à la Louisiàne…’ Audubon was so pleased with the reception New Orleans gave him that he wrote his friend John Bachman, ‘I am glad, and proud Too; that I have at last been acknowledged by the public prints as a Native Citizen of Louisiana.’ And in a letter to his wife, written at the same time, he refers to New Orleans as ‘My ‘Natal City,’” wrote Marshall B. Davidson in The Original Water-Color Paintings by John James Audubon for The Birds of America, American Heritage/Bonanza Books, New York, 1985, with plate 94.
Located in the heart of Audubon’s adopted “natal city,” Neal Auction Co. has proven itself the market leader in sales of works of art by the artist, continuously achieving world record auction prices.
Neal Auction Co.’s September sale sold 60 of 64 Audubon birds; achieved 18 world record auction prices; and came in second place in terms of record sales for 28 of the bird prints (24 of which were bested only by the renowned 2004 Magnificent Sachsen-Meiningen Set). Record prices included lot 163, Great American Cock Male, Wild Turkey; lot 165, Wild Turkey, Female and Young; lot 175, Broad Winged Hawk; lot 178, Grafs Finch or Bay Winged Bunting; lot 188, Great Cinereous Shrike or Butcher Bird; lot 191, Virginia Rail; lot 192, Booby Gannet; lot 193, Least Bittern; lot 194, Louisiana Heron; lot 215, Purple Gallinule; lot 217, Long-Tailed Duck; lot 220, Red-Headed Duck; lot 222, Long-Legged Sandpiper; lot 224, Gadwell Duck; lot 225, Least Water-Hen; lot 228, Long-Eared Owl; lot 230, Chestnut Colored Finch; and lot 233, Plumed Partridge, Thick Legged Partridge.
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON TOP LOTS
Carrying a presale estimate of $80,000 to $120,000, lot 194, John James Audubon’s Louisiana Heron achieved a new record price at auction, selling for $137,425, almost $40,000 more than the former record price of $89,625 established by Christie’s in 2004 during their world-renowned sale of Audubon engravings from the Ducal House of Saxe-Meiningen.
Achieving $131,450, lot 163, a Havell engraving of the Great American Cock Male, Wild Turkey, also set a world record auction price, breaking the former record of $72,000 established in January 2007 by Sotheby’s during their sale of Audubon prints deaccessioned from Historic Deerfield.
Lot 209, Purple Heron, performed commendably, selling for $83,650, the second highest recorded auction price for the engraving. The record price of $89,625 was achieved during the 2004 momentous sale of Audubon prints from the Magnificent Sachsen-Meiningen Set of Audubon’s The Birds of America.
Audubon’s Great White Heron, lot 213, achieved $83,650, the second highest price achieved for the work at auction, the highest being $101,575, set in 2004 during the Sachsen-Meiningen sale.
Lot 165, Wild Turkey, Female and Young, set a world record auction high when it sold for $65,725 smashing the 2004 Sachsen-Meiningen record of $47,800.
Lot 167, an Audubon engraving titled The Mocking Bird, sold well at $21,960, the third highest price achieved for the work at auction.
Audubon’s Scarlet Ibis, lot 231, realized $20,315, making it the third ranking auction record.
Eider Duck, lot 198, sold for $19,120, the second highest recorded price achieved at auction.
Lot 232, the Red Breasted Merganser reached $19,120, the third highest recorded auction price for the work.
Audubon’s Black-Billed Cuckoo, lot 169, soared to $14,937, second in price only to the record 2004 Sachsen-Meiningen example.
Hooded Merganser, lot 195, achieved $14,340, just $60 shy of Sotheby’s 2002 record price.
Second only to Sachsen-Meiningen, lot 184, Golden Eagle, achieved $13,145.
OTHER TOP LOTS
Lot 203, François Levaillant’s (1753-1824) two-volume first edition of Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des rolliers, suivie de celle des toucans et des barbus reached $40,630.
Lot 136, a late 19th-century American Renaissance carved and ebonized walnut bedroom suite, attributed to Allen & Brother, Philadelphia, comprised of two mirror-backed dressing chests and a bedstead achieved $32,265.
Lot 201, a circa 1780 Joseph F.W. Des Barres (English, 1722-1824) hand-tinted copper engraved map of The North East Shore of the Gulph of Mexico, realized $21,510.
Lot 104, an important American rococo carved and laminated rosewood armchair, attributed to John Henry Belter, New York, in the pattern known as Fountain Elms, realized $17,080.
Lot 284, a highly carved circa 1925 Hans Winterhalder Black Forest walnut tall case clock, achieved $16,730.
Lot 302, a monumental late 18th-century (144 inches by 102 inches) George III carved and giltwood frame brought $15,535.
Lots 249 and 250, portraits of Augustine Massicot Tanneret and Emile Tanneret by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans (French, 1801-1888, active New Orleans 1836-1856), sold well at $14,340 and $13,145 respectively.
Neal Auction Company achieved a record price for Amans when it sold Portrait of Antoinette Decuir in its May 2010 auction for $72,895.
For details visit www.nealauction.com or call (504)899-5329.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE