American Art Week in New York included $44 million in sales at Sotheby's and Christie's, with early modernists, illustrator artists and some small paintings doing the heavy hitting.
Sotheby's sold $20.8 million in American art (62% lots sold) with a petite painting from 1862-63 by Martin Johnson Heade, Two Ruby Throats by Their Nests, bringing $212,500 (with fees) from a $60,000-80,000 estimate. Another notable work was Maxfield Parrish's Cleopatra which nearly doubled its high estimate to fetch $2.3 million (with fees).
Canadian artist Emily Carr was represented with Skedans (1912) which reportedly sold privately after being withdrawn, in the $3m-$5 million range.
A stealth performer at Christie's $21.8 million sale (75% lots sold) was Georgia O'Keeffe's 1917 abstract watercolor at $100,000. Eastman Johnson's Kitchen at Mount Vernon brought $435,000 from a $250,000-$350-000 estimate. (An online sale brought another $2.23 million.)
A light-hearted work by illustrator artist Norman Rockwell proved popular with Laughing Boy with Sandwich and Puppy, from 1921, bringing $519,000 (with fees), double the high estimate.
The top lot of the sale was Andrew Wyeth's Oliver’s Cap from the Collection of Ron and Diane Disney Miller which sold for $2,415,000, falling below the estimate of $3m-$5 million. From the illustrator patriach of the family, N.C. Wyeth's painting of the infamous pirate Blackbeard titled “Oh, Morgan’s men are out for you; and Blackbeard—buccaneer!...”, sold for $2,295,000.
Georgia O'Keeffe's Pink Spotted Lillies went for $1,935,000.