Iconic works by masters of American Art highlight Bonhams Fall American Paintings sale

American Art
28 Nov 2012
New York

New York, NY -– Works by Andrew and James Wyeth lead the fall sale of American Art at Bonhams on November 28 in New York. The sale will feature 98 works of art representing each period of the collecting field from 19th century painting to American modernism. Highlights include works by Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth, David Johnson and Carl Rungius, among other significant artworks drawn almost entirely from private and institutional collections.

Andrew Wyeth's early tempera Little Caldwell's Island, 1940, (estimate: $1,000,000-$1,500,000) depicts a view of this coastal island in Maine at low tide with kelp and clusters of mussels in the foreground. This highly detailed work, finished when Wyeth was only twenty-three years old, contains the hallmarks Wyeth is best known for and captures the artist's emotional connection with Maine.
"Buyers of American art have been highly selective over the last few seasons," said Kayla Carlsen, head of the sale at Bonhams. "We have seen strong prices for American Modernism as well as for 19th century American paintings. As usual, exceptional examples still demand outstanding prices across categories."

Also included in the sale is a second great work by Andrew Wyeth, his watercolour Back Entry (estimate: $200,000-300,000) from 1971. Back Entry is exemplary of Wyeth's success working with watercolour. Depicting a pumpkin in the doorway of the shed at the home of the Ericksons in Cushing, Maine, this work demonstrates Wyeth's fascination and experimentation with light and dark effects.
The sale also includes two works by James Wyeth, the son of Andrew Wyeth, whose work is not completely dissimilar to his father's in style and artistic message. The Warning, 2007 (estimate: $250,000-350,000) and Dead Cat Museum, Monhegan Island, 1999 (estimate: $250,000 -350,000), each represent important moments in the artist's career and remind us of the family's deep roots in illustration and fantasy.

Other highlights include a Hudson River School masterwork by David Johnson, entitled On the Wallkill River, Ulster County, New York, 1869, (estimate: $200,000-300,000), which, at forty-four inches across, is unusually large for the artist. With careful attention to detail and a luminous sky, the work demonstrates the best characteristics of this early school of American artists. Also of note is Olympian Elk by Carl Rungius (est. $300,000-500,000). This work is a monumental example of the artist's skill in rendering animals of the American West.
Among the additional exceptional offerings rounding out the American Art sale at Bonhams are several modernist works including Jack Levine's Millionaire (estimate: $30,000-50,000), several works by Naïve painter Grandma Moses, works by New York painter Guy Wiggins and other notable Americans such as Thomas Moran, William Bradford, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Hart Benton.

In conjunction with the sale, Victoria Wyeth, the granddaughter of Andrew Wyeth, will speak about the works of art of Andrew and James Wyeth at Bonhams, Sunday, November 25th at 2:00 pm. The pre-sale exhibition for Bonhams American Art Sale on November 28th takes place from November 24 - 28. For the full auction catalogue, preview hours and event information please visit bonhams.com/20075.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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