Wayne Thiebaud’s Blueberry Custard, 1961 sold for $3,225,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Modern & Contemporary Art Auction to break the house record for the most expensive piece of Modern & Contemporary Art ever sold through Heritage Auctions.
The painting was one of 16 lots sold that came from the private collection of the late Russ Solomon, founder of Tower Records, and boosted the total for the auction to $5,106,231. Blueberry Custard sparked bids from multiple collectors, and exceeded its high pre-auction estimate by 29%.
“Blueberry Custard was exhibited at Thiebaud’s first show at Allan Stone Gallery in 1962,” said Holly Sherratt, Heritage Auctions’ San Francisco Director of Modern & Contemporary Art. “It hung out of public view and appropriately in Russ Solomon’s kitchen for many years until it was exhibited again at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in UC Davis in 2018. What a fun coincidence that we brought the painting to market as Thiebaud turned 99. I was honored to mark this important birthday with such a historically-significant painting.”
Robert Arneson’s Poised to Infinity, 1991, one of three Arneson lots from Solomon’s collection, sold for $143,750, more than double the low estimate.
“While Russ Solomon was the King of Music with a legendary ear, he also had an amazing collecting eye,” added Sherratt. “This bronze was one of many monumental sculptures that Solomon collected from local artists. His house was designed around his art collection and this sculpture stood in the entry courtyard welcoming Russ’s friends to his spacious art-filled home.
“Russ loved art that was big and bold and this collection was such a pleasure to promote.”
Ian Hornak’s Homage to Van Hysum (Baroque Flowerpiece with Minerals, A Monkey, and the Milky Way), 1989 sold for a record $22,500 surpassing the previous record of only $7,000.”
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
Alex Katz Untitled (Carmen), 2008: $55,000
David Salle Jim was Jim, 1980: $50,000
Donald Roller Wilson Untitled, 1995: $40,000