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New Auction Records for Hopper and the Kooning Lead Christie's Booming $ 318 Million Barney Ebsworth Sale

The sale of late businessman Barney Ebsworth's private collection at Christies New York totaled $ 317.8 million, which easily exceeded…

The sale of late businessman Barney Ebsworth’s private collection at Christies New York totaled $ 317.8 million, which easily exceeded the estimate of about $ 258.3 million.

Many experts called the event a “once in a lifetime” the opportunity to acquire some of the finest examples of American modernism thanks to Ebsworth’s long-standing reputation as a fine connoisseur in the field – and it turned out to be the case.

Of 42 lotteries offered, 37 sold or 88 percent. Of value, the auction was sold 99 percent. As expected, the star was much Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey (1929), one of the last big 1920s jumpers left in private hands, estimated at $ 70 million to $ 1

00 million.

Auction owner Jussi Pylkkanen opened Budgivningen about $ 48 million and a bout of war soon broke between Loy Gouzer, co-chairman of Christie’s post-war and contemporary divide division, and Eric Widing, Christie’s vice president. The fact that specialists from the contemporary art world and American art held their heads is a sign of the broad appeal of the work.

The painting, ultimately hammered for $ 85 million to Gouzer buyers, placed not only records for the artist but for the auction house’s entire category of “American Art”. With a premium, the final price was $ 91.9 million, doubling the previous $ 40.5 million Hopper record, paid for East Wind Over Weehawken (1934) at Christie in 2013.

Who Bought ] Chop Suey ? Christie did not say. But at a press conference after the sale, the auction house president Marc Porter appeared to suggest that it could be an institution and add with a broad smile that the house “hope it will be back soon”.

Other tops also include Willem de Koonings Woman as Landscape (1954-55), estimated at $ 60 million to $ 90 million. In terms of origin, this color goes double: Not only had it never appeared on auction before, but Ebsworth acquired it from actor and collector Steve Martin back in 1991.

Bidding opened $ 50 million and work was hammered down to Christie’s Specialist Alex Rotter for $ 61 million, or $ 68.9 million with premium, which marked a new auction record for the Kooning. The previous record of $ 66.3 million for a 1977 draw draw was put on Christie in November 2016. (The artist’s prices have reached much higher in the private market: Ken Griffin purchased the Koonings 1955 Interchange from David Geffen for $ 300 million in 2016.)

Willem de Kooning, Woman as a landscape (1954-55). Courtesy of Christie’s New York.

Although discs tumbled for the best jobs offered, bidding nevertheless felt measured compared to the more heated battles that are often seen at this level of the market.

Jackson Pollocks Red-blend composition (1950), estimated at $ 50 million to $ 70 million, sold for $ 55.4 million prize to a woman in the front of the room after bidding opened at 40 million dollars.

Jackson Pollock, Red-blend composition (1950). Estimate of Christie’s New York.

The estimated $ 12 million to $ 16 million on Joan Mitchell’s abstract cloth 12 Hawks at 3th (1960) set it within reach of a new record for artist who sat on Christie’s end of May when Blueberry (1969) was sold for $ 16.6 million. The painting was previously owned by the artist Sam Francis, who acquired it directly from Mitchell. Ebsworth bought it at a Christie auction in 1997 for just $ 310,500.

The bid was lively and the work was eventually sold for $ 14 million to Rotter’s buyer who offered the phone.

Joan Mitchell, 12 Hawks at 3 O & # 39; Clock (1960). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

Even among the highest rated parties was a Franz Kline abstract, the title simply Painting and dated 1954. It was estimated at $ 5 million to $ 7 million, but failed to exit any enthusiasm in space . It was handed over to an absentee bid, which the Pylkan said was $ 3.75 million or $ 4.5 million premium.

Painting width =” 766 “height =” 1024 “srcset =” Kline-766×1024.jpg 766w, https: // news.×300.jpg 224w, -37×50.jpg 37w, 1000w “sizes =” (max width: 766px) 100vw, 766px “/>

Franz Kline, Painting (1954). Courtesy of Christie Images Ltd.

The sale was opened with a painting by Georgia O & # 39; Keeffe, an artist Ebsworth knew well and who himself acted as a witness at his second wedding, which took place at Abiquiu, New Mexico. Keeffes Horn and Feather (1937), estimated at $ 700,000 to $ 1 million, was sold under expectations at $ 500,000. (The final prize prize was about $ 613,000.)

The action often felt particularly intense at the lower prizes and for some of the lesser-known names. A painting by Francis Criss, Melancholy Interlude (1939), sold for 348,500, more than twice as highly appreciated. Similarly, Suzy Frelinghuysen’s Composition (1943) sold for $ 552,500 against an estimate of $ 120,000 to $ 180,000. And Leon Polk-Smith’s Black Over Red (1960) increased to $ 336,500 compared with an estimate of $ 50,000 to $ 70,000.

Ebsworth, born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934, made his fortune in cruise lines and luxury travel. He was also an angel investor in the retail phenomenon Build a Bear Workshop. His passion for art originates during his time with the American Army in France in 1956, during which time he visited the Louvre.

At the press conference after the sale last night, Widing noted that Ebsworth was a big student who, upon acquisition, “Looked at everything and read everything.”

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