DALLAS – The art market showed no signs of slowing during Heritage Auctions’ American Art November 4 sale featuring choice works by Mark Rothko, Joseph Leyendecker and Thomas Moran. The event, which realized $6,895,750, broke auction records for a number of beloved American artists who have shaped the art of the last century.
“With more than 1,150 bids on just 218 lots, the excitement in the auction room on November 4 felt like an American art feeding frenzy, the likes of which I have not seen in my entire career,” said Heritage Senior Vice President of American Art Aviva Lehmann. “Seeing this passion for American art from both new and seasoned collectors thrills me beyond words.”
Rothko saw an auction record for an early figurative work from a seminal series: $1.45 million for A Last Supper. The painting was one of the very few private loans in a recent major Rothko retrospective at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, and it is a crucial work in understanding Rothko’s trajectory from figurative to abstract painter. “Handling the sale of this important and formative museum-quality American masterwork was a career-high moment,” said Lehmann. “We knew we were in the presence of greatness when it came through the doors of Heritage, and watching our clients marvel at this masterwork when it hung in our New York, Chicago and Dallas Galleries was extraordinary. We are thrilled to have found a new home for this American masterpiece.”
Artist and illustrator of the social realism school Stevan Dohanos saw an auction record for 1944’s Penny Candy, a Saturday Evening Post cover, at $375,000. “It is his best-known Post cover – a veritable Holy Grail,” says Lehmann.
Illustration was particularly strong in this event: Along with Dohanos, Arnold Lobel saw an auction record for his watercolor and pencil on paper Frog and Toad, circa 1975-79, at $37,500.
Hudson River School artist Thomas Moran’s work did exceptionally well in this auction also. Two intimate oil-on-canvas pictures that shimmer with the atmospheric buzz of a quiet morning in the Italian port at Venice, both from 1906, brought in $125,000 and $109,000, respectively. One of these was from a larger group of Hudson River School paintings in this auction from the Santander Bank collection.
Also, a 1944 oil on canvas titled Bright Morning, Utah, by Maynard Dixon, master of the American West, brought in $175,000. Dixon’s Abandoned Ranch from 1935 sold for $87,500. And finally, original Christmas-themed cover art rendered in 1976 by Maurice Sendak for Rolling Stone earned $120,000.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/