Auctions | October 16, 2014

King Collection Treasures Highlight Heritage’s American Art Auction in New York

NEW YORK—Moonlight on a Creek, circa 1928-29, Oscar Bluemner’s masterful symphony of form and color (est. $600,000) highlights the extraordinary King Collection of American Art in Heritage Auctions’ American Fine Art Signature® Auction Nov. 17 in New York.

Comprised of 46 paintings and works on paper from the inception of Modernism in 1907 through the flourishing scene of the 1930s, The King Collection includes iconic works by Stieglitz Circle masters Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth and Marsden Hartley, as well as masterworks by rare and obscure artists Henry Lyman Sayen and William Henry Kemble Yarrow.

“This auction encompasses masterworks from virtually every category of American Art,” said Aviva Lehmann, Director of American Art at Heritage Auctions. “In particular, The King Collection of American Art is arguably the most comprehensive and important collection of Early American Modernism to come to the auction block.”

O’Keeffe’s Alligator Pears, circa 1923 (est. $400,000+), was painted as part of a series by the artist in the early 1920s. O'Keeffe rediscovered her interest in still-life compositions following an intensive period of experimentation with abstract design. There are eight known alligator pear canvases from 1923, a large number on a single theme for O'Keeffe. Perhaps the finest from this series, Alligator Pears boasts prestigious provenance, having been previously owned by both Alfred Stieglitz and Edith Halpert of The Downtown Gallery, in New York.

Tulips, 1923, by Charles Demuth (est. $150,000+), is a classic still life presented in the artist’s distinctive watercolor technique. The work exemplifies Demuth’s signature use of negative space, which is achieved by using the stark whiteness of the paper to as a forceful element in the painting against the colorful flowers and spare pencil lines in the foreground. Another sought-after still life, Bowl with Fruit, 1919, by Marsden Hartley (est. $100,000+), was widely exhibited and previously owned by noted modern art collector Ferdinand Howald. 

The King Collection also holds The River (River Interpretation), 1914, by Man Ray (est. $100,000+), a pivotal piece by the only American artist to claim a prominent role in the development of Dada and Surrealism in the United States.

Albert Bloch’s landmark Pierrot, 1911, (est. $100,000+) is a rare example of the American’s important contribution to the German modernist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). Because Bloch often destroyed works that he deemed “unsuccessful” and due to collateral damage during WWII bombing campaigns on German collections, Pierrot is one of the artist’s earliest known surviving Modernist paintings.

Additional highlights from the King Collection include, but are not limited by:

Heritage Auctions Nov. 17 American Fine Art Signature® Auction also includes choice examples spanning Illustration and Western and California art.

William Robinson Leigh’s Land of Navaho (Young Indian Goat Herder), 1948 (est. $500,000+), was painted after immersing himself into the Native American culture of Arizona. Leigh ventured into the Monument Valley region, he visited the Navajo reservation, where he admired artisans and sheep and goat herders, observed a child burial, and ate lamb stew with tribe leaders. The work stands as one of Leigh’s most majestic paintings of Native American culture and appears at auction from the Judson C. Ball and Nancy Sue Ball Fine Art Collection.

Slim Chance, 1978 (est. $400,000+), underscores artist Howard Terpning's interest in the Plains Indians' complicated relationship with white trappers and traders during the 1800s.

Leading a strong selection of Illustration Art is The Little Peach, 1902 (est. $400,000+), an important work by Maxfield Parrish, one of the foremost illustrators of the 20th century.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 850,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

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