PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s American Week broke both world and house auction records, achieving a total of $7 million across four sales held between June 4 and June 8. Absentee and Internet live bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.
The undoubted highlight of American Week was the record-breaking sale of N.C. Wyeth’s Jetty Tree, which realized $2,450,000 on June 4. Strong market demand for this Wyeth painting drove the sale price eight times above its high estimate of $300,000. This result represents the second-highest price for a work of art at Freeman’s, a new house record for N.C. Wyeth, and the highest price ever paid for a non–illustration art work by the artist.
“Works like Jetty Tree were important to Wyeth as they provided him the opportunity to transcend the constraints of commercial work to create personally meaningful compositions,” said Freeman’s Chairman Alasdair Nichol. “Clearly, this work and its subject matter resonated with collectors. We’re honored to bring impactful canvases like this to market, and delighted that it far exceeded expectations.”
The painting — a landscape depicting the Maine coast where the Wyeth family summered — was on long-term loan to the Brandywine Museum of Art before arriving fresh to market in the Freeman’s June 4 sale titled American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists Featuring the Papageorge Family Collection.
The striking Wyeth canvas wasn’t the only work to exceed estimates in the Freeman’s auction; indeed, another esteemed Wyeth performed markedly well. When Henriette Wyeth’s Portrait of Peter Hurd sold for $138,600, it broke previous auction records for the artist. Henriette was the daughter of N.C. and sister of Andrew Wyeth, and an acclaimed American Realist.
After the Storm (Tundra), an impressive and quintessential winter scene by German-born American wildlife artist Carl Rungius, commanded $453,600 following competitive bidding.
In keeping with Freeman’s excellent reputation for handling single-owner collections, Pride of Place: Works from the Estate of Sydney F. Martin, a select 26-lot sale also held June 4, saw strong market demand for works by Pennsylvania artists that drove sale prices to historic highs. Morgan Colt’s A Glorious Day, which earned $126,000, and William B.T. Trego’s Union Soldiers in Combat, which brought $44,100, both far exceeded their estimates and broke auction records for the respective artists.
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