A tour de force by Howard A. Terpning sold for $585,000 to become one of 15 lots to post six-figure results and lead Heritage Auctions' July 1 American Art event to its $6,030,625 total.
Terpning’s Against the Cold Maker, 1992, which came from an important Texas collection and once exhibited at the National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City, led a strong selection of offerings. Despite having started his artistic career as an illustrator, Terpning is considered by many to be the greatest Western painter working today.
“It was thrilling for us to watch feverish competitive bidding, the likes of which we have not seen in certain categories for quite some time,” Heritage Auctions Vice President and Director of American Art Aviva Lehmann said. “There was so much bidding that we only got through about 30 lots in the first hour. The market demand for Hudson River School, Illustration and Western Art is voracious, and we are so happy that we could deliver a quality auction that catered perfectly to our clients’ needs and wants.”
Norman Rockwell’s Grandfather and Grandson, 1929 came from the Dixon Ticonderoga Collection and found a new home at $447,000. By arguably the most popular American artist of all time, Grandfather and Grandson is another in the line of Rockwell paintings that brings out the heart of the American family, including the interaction between generations.
The first lot to cross the auction block in the event, Frederic Remington’s Water!, circa 1890, nearly tripled its pre-auction estimate when it brought $300,000. Initially featured in the November 1890 issue of The Century Magazine, the work accompanied an article entitled "The First Emigrant Train to California" by General John Bidwell.
One fascinating story emerged when the result for Joseph Christian Leyendecker’s New Year's Baby Hitching to War, The Saturday Evening Post unpublished cover, 1943 climbed to $275,000, nearly 4.5 times the low pre-auction estimate and the fifth-highest amount ever paid for a work by the artist. The image that was supposed to be Joseph Christian Leyendecker's final cover for The Saturday Evening Post, but it never reached the magazine … or public view. Of particular note is that the consignor, who had received the painting as a gift by the family of E. Huber Ulrich, chairman and CEO of Curtis Publishing Co., The Saturday Evening Post's parent, will keep just a fraction of a fraction of the money made, opting to re-route the majority of it to Wilkinson’s family.
John Ford Clymer The Lewis Crossing also fared exceptionally well, nearly tripling its low pre-auction estimate when it closed at $225,000. The painting was once exhibited in the Whitney Gallery of Western Art at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody Wyoming. The artist is known for intense research of the area he intended to paint, followed by trips to the locations to study the area, a process that led to a high level of detail and historical accuracy that can be seen in this painting.
Nine collectors pursued Leyendecker’s Yule (Musical Jester), The Saturday Evening Post cover, December 26, 1931 until it drew a winning bid of $212,500. Leyendecker was one of the most popular and successful artists from the Golden Age of Illustration, thanks in large part to the design and style he often used in his images for magazine covers, including the offered lot.
Two new auction records were established in the auction:
Albert E. Backus Ocean Cottages: $62,500
Anita Huffington Spring II, 1993: $21,25
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
Harvey Cimarron Cowhands, 1993 $175,000