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December 2, 2005

Ringing the Register

Stuart Davis: Still Life with Flowers (1930)Results are in from yesterday's auction of Very Important American Art at Christie's...

And my old school's Stuart Davis painting sold within the general ballpark of its $2–3 million estimate, reaching a purchase price of $3,152,000 (and a hammer price of $2.8 million before buyer's premium).

Deducting a seller's commission of 2%, District 203 will be raking in some $2,744,000 on the deal (before any applicable taxes), which is pretty well over a four million percent appreciation (in under 60 years) on the original purchase price of $62.50, just beating out inflation.

And so, of course, the rich just get richer, even as they continue to hang on to their Ivan Albright, among other holdings (but, then, the man was an alumnus).

Now a proverbial mule with a spinning wheel, the school has set up a separate fund for their auction proceeds and will convene a committee to determine just what they're going to do with their little windfall. The only word so far (per both the Trib and the Pioneer Press) is that there's a chance it'll be art-related, which makes a certain amount of sense.

Certainly one of the prime departments and areas of emphasis one would think might be something in the art area. We didn't specify anything in particular, but that certainly was one thing we talked about. It truly is open and yet to be determined, but we're very excited on behalf of New Trier students and school district programs.

Update: Some District 203 Board of Education minutes related to the Stuart Davis (both PDF)...

From the July 6 meeting at which a special committee recommended consignment to Christie's:

The committee charged with analyzing this issue and interviewing representatives of the two predominant, national auction houses unanimously recommended that the Stuart Davis painting be consigned to Christie's... Never before has an auction house been as aggressive or enthusiastic about the sale of the Stuart Davis.

From the July 18 meeting at which the board discussed and approved the recommendation of consignment. The only vote against was from John Graettinger, who had earlier suggested that "the funds be shared somehow to benefit high school children of Chicago Public Schools and their education."

* * *

Mary Cassatt: Mother and Two Children (1906)Also on the block yesterday were the Harvard University Art Museums' quietly deaccessioned Mary Cassatt (estimate $3–5 million), which fetched a purchase price of $4,272,000 (hammering at $3.8 million), and a late Marsden Hartley, "Red Flowers and Sailboat," that just undershot its $1.2–1.8 estimate at $1,136,000 ($1 million hammer).

Marsden Hartley: Red Flowers and Sailboat (c. 1935–36)If it's still up, give a listen to the auction house's audio commentary on the Hartley (linked here), in which Eric Widing, head of the Christie's American Paintings Department, informs us that "the genre of still-life painting proved to be one of the most significant subjects in Marsden Hartley's errrv."

As in "hors d'oeuvres" (American style)... or maybe even "Favre" (Northwoods style). Lord, how the French must hate us.

Georgia O'Keefe: Corn No. III (1924)Of the three deaccessioned MoMA works on offer, both Georgia O'Keefes sold, while the Milton Avery, "Morning Dunes," apparently didn't hit its reserve (let alone its estimate of $400,000–600,000) and so wound up bought-in.

O'Keefe's "Corn No. III" went for a high $1,360,000 ($1.2 million hammer, $800,000–1.2 million estimate), while her "Cedar and Red Maple, Lake George" missed its low estimate of $400,000, going for $352,000 ($300,000 hammer).

Update: Artnet has the results, with images

"Ringing the Register"
Posted by Dan at 01:51 AM

Comments

The correct spelling is "O'Keeffe."

Otherwise, very amusing

E. Widing

Posted by: E Widing on December 27, 2005 at 05:11 PM



Referenced in this post:

Amazon: Savage Inequalities—Jonathan Kozol
Artnet: Public Auction Results: Christie's New York—Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture
Cegur's Chimera Gallery of the Arts: Ivan Albright—Self Portrait
Chicago Tribune: In 1948, an art teacher paid $62.50 for it. Soon, New Trier could make millions.—Lisa Black
Christie's Auction Results—Sale 1578: Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture
Christie's Featured Auction—Sale 1578: Georgia O'Keefe—Corn No. III
Christie's Featured Auction—Sale 1578: Marsden Hartley—Red Flowers and Sailboat
Christie's Featured Auction—Sale 1578: Mary Cassatt—Mother and Two Children
Christie's Featured Auction—Sale 1578: Stuart Davis—Still Life with Flowers
Christie's Featured Auction: Sale 1578—Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture
Christie's Lotfinder: Sale 1578, Lot 126: Georgia O'Keefe—Corn No. III
Christie's Lotfinder: Sale 1578, Lot 127: Georgia O'Keefe—Cedar and Red Maple, Lake George
Christie's Lotfinder: Sale 1578, Lot 131: Milton Avery—Morning Dunes
Christie's Lotfinder: Sale 1578, Lot 22: Stuart Davis—Still Life with Flowers
Christie's Lotfinder: Sale 1578, Lot 28: Marsden Hartley—Red Flowers and Sailboat
Christie's Lotfinder: Sale 1578, Lot 48: Mary Cassatt—Mother and Two Children
Christie's: How to Buy—Buyer's Premium
Christie's: How to Sell—Seller's Commission
District 203 Board of Education: John S. (Buz) Graettinger, Jr.
Iconoduel: 'Those things are becoming kind of valuable'
Modern Art Notes: MANscoop: Cassatt seller identified: HUAM
Modern Art Notes: MoMA Turns One, Part II
New Trier Township High School District 203: Regular Meeting of the Board of Education, July 18, 2005 (PDF)
New Trier Township High School District 203: Special Meeting of the Board of Education, July 6, 2005 (PDF)
Wikipedia: Marge vs. the Monorail
Wilmette Life: Art castoff could sell for $3 million—Ken Goze