Records & Results: American Art

Modernists Lead American Art at Swann


We continued the spring 2019 season with a sale of American Art on June 13, which boasted three artist records.


American Modernists


Abstract rendering of people walking in a city by Attilio Salemme.
Lot 216: Attilio Salemme, Rivalry, oil on canvas, 1945. Sold for $21,250, a record for the artist.


American Modernists were standouts in the sale with two of the three records: Attilio Salemme’s 1945 oil on canvas painting Rivalry, at $21,250, and Nautical Composition with an Anchor, oil on board, by Joseph Lambert Cain, at $11,250. 


Abstract painting of a violin on top of sheet music by Suzy Frelinghuysen.
Lot 215: Suzy Frelinghuysen, Act Three, oil & collage on board, 1942. Sold for $40,000.


Suzy Frelinghuysen’s Cubist-inspired oil and collage work, Act Three, 1942 reached $40,000, and Esphyr Slobodkina’s Abstract Composition, gouache on board, circa 1940s, earned $8,450.


Charles Burchfield & America’s Terrain


A loosely rendered watercolor of a hilltop landscape by Charles Burchfield.
Lot 91: Charles Burchfield, Summer Landscape (Trees on a Hill), watercolor, gouache & pencil, 1917. Sold for $13,750.


Scenes of America’s diverse terrain were well received by collectors. Highlights included a run of vibrant watercolors by Charles Burchfield: Clouds and Trees Under Blue Skies, circa 1920s ($23,750), Summer Landscape (Trees on a Hill), 1917 ($13,750), and Brook, 1916 ($12,350) were among the top lots.


Realistic oil painting of the Rocky Mountains by Albert Bierstadt.
Lot 1: Albert Bierstadt, Rocky Mountain Landscape, oil on paper. Sold for $22,500.


Also of note was an example of Hughie Lee-Smith’s mid-career oeuvre, Coastal Landscape, oil on canvas, 1960s ($11,250); Albert Bierstadt’s oil on paper Rocky Mountain Landscape ($22,500); and a snowy New York City scene, At the Plaza, New York, by Guy C. Wiggins ($18,750).


Western Landscapes


A watercolor scene of cowbys roping and lassoing horses.
Lot 21: Victor Pierson, group of 10 Mexican cowboy and horse riding scenes, watercolors, circa 1870. Sold for $7,500, a record for the artist.


Western landscapes featured Ruth Monro Augur’s circa late 1930s oil on canvas depiction of the Oklahoma Land Rush, which sold for $10,000, and a group of 10 circa-1870 Mexican cowboy and horse-riding scenes by Victor Pierson, which set a record for the artist at $7,500.


Figurative Works


A cartoonish painting of four men sitting on a bench by Ben Shahn.
Lot 248: Ben Shahn, Men on a Bench, gouache, circa 1940. Sold for $50,000.


Ben Shahn’s Men on a Bench, gouache on paper, circa 1940, led the sale at $50,000. Further figurative works of note featured Seated Man, a pencil drawing by Marsden Hartley ($30,000) and Pavel Tchelitchew’s 1932 pen and brush drawing Studies of Wrestlers ($9,375).


Complete Results.

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