Skinner's May 21 sale of American & European Paintings & Prints rocketed to $3.9 million (including fees) with several world record auction prices set among the 850 lots. The Boston auctioneer profited from fresh-to-market gems from private collections.
Leading the sale was the rare and exquisite "At the Grand Prix," one of about eight known pastels painted by Childe Hassam between 1887 and 1889 while in Paris. Estimated at $150,000 to $200,000, it sold for $699,000, the second highest price paid for a pastel at auction.
A New England family's collection yielded up Irving Ramsey Wiles' "A Walk Along the Harbor Shore," which blew away a pre-sale estimate of $50,000 to $75,000; it sold for $490,000, a record auction price for the artist, according to Skinner's.
The estate of Mary Lee Ingbar of Cambridge, Mass., offered Yves Tanguy's Un peu après (A Little Later) of 1940. Estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, it sold for $688,000.
A big surprise came from two Chinese-themed watercolors by William Alexander (British, 1767-1816) which sold for 100 times their estimates.
A View of Part of the Great Wall of China, Called by the Natives Van-lee-ching, or Wall of Ten Thousand Lee, Taken Near the Pass of 'Cou-Pe-Koo' plate XXIV was estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, but sold for $100,725. Chinese Barges of the Embassy Preparing to Pass Under a Bridge plate XL from Sir George Staunton's An Authentic Account of An Embassy from the King of Great, also estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, sold for $82,950.