Illustration by Newell Convers Wyeth Fetches $1.325 Million at Bonhams

New York—The top-selling lot at the American Art sale at Bonhams was a work by one of America’s greatest illustrators, Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945), which realized $1,325,000, more than twice the high estimate. 

After a lengthy bidding war, the work finally went to a telephone bidder.

Titled ...Emerging into an opening that appeared to have been formed partly by the ravages of the wind, and partly by those of fire, the work was painted in 1925 as a commission for The Deerslayer, the 1841 novel by James Fenimore Cooper and prequel to the famed Last of the Mohicans (also illustrated by Wyeth in 1924). The painting, which was sold by a descendant of the artist, is a supreme example of Wyeth’s success in this genre.

Other notable highlights from the auction include:

·         Gordon Fairchild by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), which sold for $305,000. Sargent was a prolific American artist whose superior techniques of portraiture were coveted by many upper class patrons during his lifetime.This work, painted in 1887, depicts the youngest child of Sargent’s close friends, the Fairchilds, and which got passed down through the sitter’s family, eventually ending up in the possession of the artist’s descendants. 

·         Blackfeet Camp, by Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953) that realized $81,250, well over the high estimate of $60,000. In this work, Sharp—who was known for depicting Native American culture in many of his paintings—has painted a Teepee nestled in the serene mountainous region of the West Coast. 

·         A work by the renowned artist, Dennis Bunker (1861-1890), Portrait of Doctor Royal Whitman that fetched $65,000, whose paintings rarely appear at auction.  

·         A vivid and richly colored work, Geisha Girl, by American Impressionist painter, Jane Peterson (1876-1965) that sold for $60,000, more than 1.7 times the high estimate. 

·         Stalking Panther, a bronze sculpture by Alexander Phimister Proctor (1862-1950), which achieved $50,000, racing past its high estimate of $18,000. 

·         Portrait of the Artist's Father, a magnificent oil by Anna Richards Brewster (1870-1952), which realized $47,500, 4.5 times the high estimate of $10,000. Brewster, the daughter of prominent seascape artist, William Trost Richards, most likely painted this while under the tutelage of artist, Dennis Bunker, at the Cowles Art School in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Director of American Art at Bonhams, Kayla Carlsen, said, “We are pleased with the results of today’s auction. The market continues to respond well to works with pristine provenance that are estimated fairly.”

The next American Art sale will be held in November, 2015.

Auction Guide