Masterworks of Tiffany and Prewar Design from the Warshawsky Collection led Sotheby's sale on May 19 to $8 Million total, topped by a Tiffany "Oriental Poppy" Floor Lamp which sold for $1.1 Million, an auction record for the model. The next day American Art fetched a total $38.3 million, just under its high estimate of $39.7 million and with a strong sell-through rate of 85.4% by lot.
The auction was led by White Calla Lily, a prime example of Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic flower paintings that the artist kept in her own collection until her death in 1986, and which has remained in the same private collection for more than two decades. The final price of $8,986,000 marks the second-highest auction result for any work by the artist (estimate $8–12 million). - White Calla Lily follows the sale of Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 for $44.4 million in Sotheby’s previous sale of American Art (November 2014), which set the current auction record for O’Keeffe as well as for any female artist.
Three works by Modern master Milton Avery together brought $5.5 million, led by Spring in Vermont from 1945 that fetched $3,370,000 – the second-highest auction result for any work by the artist (estimate $1.5–2.5 million). The result follows the May 2014 sale of Avery’s March and Sally Outdoors at Sotheby’s for $5.7 million, which remains the auction record for the artist.
A number of strong prices for American Illustration were led by Norman Rockwell’s The Bookworm from 1926 that achieved $3,834,000 (estimate $1.5–2.5 million), as well as Maxfield Parrish’s Two Cooks and a Haggis that sold for $1,570,000 (estimate $300/500,000). The Bookworm came to auction from the collection noted Chicago businessman Roy Warshawsky and his wife Sarita.
A significant group of late-19th and early-20th century works emerging after decades in the same distinguished private collection together totaled $7.7 million, exceeding their high expectation of $5.5 million. The collection was led by Parrish’s Two Cooks and a Haggis as well as Martin Johnson Heade’s Two Fishermen in the Marsh, which sold for $970,000 (estimate $700,000 – 1 million), and Thomas Moran’s Clouds in the Canyon that brought $910,000 (estimate $600/800,000)
New benchmark prices were established for five artists: John Frederick Peto, James Peale, Kenneth Southworth Davies, Otis Kaye and Charles Webster Hawthorne.
Sotheby’s auction dedicated to masterworks of Tiffany & Prewar Design from The Warshawsky Collection achieved 98.6% of all lots sold (sale estimate $5.3/7.9 million). Fierce demand for the collection’s many treasures drove more than 75% of all 138 lots on offer to exceed their pre-sale high estimates.
The sale featured a comprehensive selection of more than 90 Tiffany Studios works spanning every artistic discipline of the famed firm, led by an "Oriental Poppy" Floor Lamp circa 1910 that achieved $1,066,000 and set a world auction record for the model (estimate $400/600,000). -
Twelve Tiffany works surpassed $100,000, including an extraordinary "Iris" Lantern circa 1905 that brought $490,000 (estimate $400/600,000) – also marking a world auction record for the model – and the "River of Life" Window that fetched $394,000 (estimate $200/300,000).
In addition to masterworks by Tiffany, the sale offered important European and American Prewar Design by such artists as Archibald Knox, René Lalique and Louis Sullivan.
A Gold, Aquamarine, Diamond and Plique-à-Jour Enamel Dragonfly Pendant-Necklace crafted by Lalique circa 1903-1904 achieved $212,500, more than doubling its high estimate of $100,000.
The collection offered one of the most important selections of silver and metalwork designed by Archibald Knox for the famous Liberty & Co. ever to appear at auction. Two of these examples exceeded $100,000, led by a rare "Cymric" Clock that more than quadrupled its $30,000 high estimate in selling for $125,000.