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Deborah Butterfield Bronze Horse Tops Treadway Toomey's Over $2 Million Single-Owner Sale

Oak Park , Illinois -- 19 April 2016
Deborah Butterfield, (American, b.  1949), Untitled, 1997, bronze with patina, 34"h x 101"w x 69"d.  Estimate: $70,000 - $90,000.  Sold for $157,500.
Deborah Butterfield, (American, b. 1949), Untitled, 1997, bronze with patina, 34"h x 101"w x 69"d. Estimate: $70,000 - $90,000. Sold for $157,500.
(Treadway Toomey)

Treadway Toomey Auctions presented Fire & Form: Fine Art and Ceramics – Part I, From the Estate of Candice B. Groot on Saturday, April 16th. The 278-lot auction was held at John Toomey Gallery in Oak Park, Illinois and achieved an impressive 90% sell-through rate resulting in more than $2 million in sales. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Virginia A. Groot Foundation, founded by Candice Groot in 1988.

The single-owner collection assembled by Ms. Groot over the last thirty years is one of the most important and comprehensive collections of Modern and Contemporary ceramics ever to come to auction. The first lot of the sale was an auction record for a work by Kathy Butterly, titled Buttercup, selling for $12,200. More than 20 auction records were attained during the five-hour sale, with competitive bidding in a full auction room, online, and on the phones.

The top lot of the sale was a life-size bronze casting of a horse by Deborah Butterfield. The 1,645-pound sculpture had to be lifted via a crane from Groot’s Evanston residence overlooking lake Michigan in order to transport it to the gallery. Multiple phone bidders vied for the work, which resulted in a selling price of $157,500. Another sculpture by Japanese artist Katsura Funakoshi, titled Under the Moon Over the Mountain, was the second highest selling lot at $145,500.

Robert Arneson, the father of the Funk Art movement and credited to taking ceramic art in a new direction, was one of Groot’s favorite artists to collect. The auction comprised sixteen works by Arneson and they totaled over 15% of the sale at $312,975. Two lots by another icon of the ceramic art world, Ken Price, were represented in the sale; Baby Scale from 1981 and Iconoclast from 1985 sold for $39,650 and $29,280, respectively.

Other highlights included Kris Kuksi’s The Plague Parade: Opus 3 selling for $36,600, nearly doubling its low estimate; Alessandro Gallo’s Old Skool (African Goose), $10,370; Gertraud Möhwald’s Head with Asymmetric Hairstyle V, $12,200 and Julian III, $14,640; three works by Marilyn Levine, with her top lot titled Work Boots, $24,400; Sergei Isupov’s, Shadow, $14,640; Akio Takamori’s Anodyne, $19,520; Joseph Seigenthaler’s representation of President Obama, titled #44, $21,960; and Laurie Lipton’s Leashed Passion, $10,980.


Part II of Fire & Form: Fine Art and Ceramics, From the Estate of Candice B. Groot is scheduled for November 12th, 2016. For more information please contact Joe Stanfield, Director of Fine Art, at