NEW YORK, 3 December 2020 – Sotheby’s is pleased to share highlights from our American Art auction in New York on 11 December, and Two Centuries: American Art, an online sale open for bidding today through 11 December. The live sale features an exceptional group of paintings, works on paper and sculpture by some of the most celebrated American artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among the highlights are nine works from the Collection of Carolyn & Roger Horchow, two exceptional watercolors by Winslow Homer, each dating to a different period in the artist’s career, and the last of six paintings the celebrated history painter Emanuel Leutze created on the subject of Christopher Columbus. Columbus’ First Landing in America was rediscovered last year and is being publicly shown for the first time in 150 years. We are also proud to present Milton Avery’s Mender from the Collection of Ezra and Cecile Zilkha, as well as Avery’s Sunset Sea as a highlight of our Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 8 December (estimate $3/5 million). Additional highlights include a monumental Janet Scudder sculpture sold to benefit The Cleveland Museum of Art and Gari Melcher’s Winter offered by the heirs of the Rudolph Mosse Estate sold to benefit the Mosse Art Restitution Project.
The exhibition will be on view in Sotheby’s New York galleries from 5 – 10 December, open by appointment.
WINSLOW HOMER’S TWO GIRLS ON THE BEACH, TYNEMOUTH
Two exceptional watercolors by Winslow Homer are led by Two Girls on the Beach, Tynemouth, which depicts local fisherwomen from the small city of Tynemouth, near Cullercoats – a fishing village on the northeastern coast of England (estimate $2.5/3.5 million). In March 1881, Homer left New York for England, intending to stay for only a few months. However, inspired by the dramatic landscape and simple way of life, Homer stayed in England for two years, and embarked on a series of nearly 150 works that focused on the local fishermen and women whose lives revolved around the sea. Recognized as a pivotal moment in Homer’s career, his years in England marked a change in his technique and preferred subject matter. Though delicate contemplative women had been a common theme of Homer's work in America, his attention turned to expressing his admiration for these formidable working women and their vital role in village life in England. After leaving England, Homer continued to depict the perils of sea throughout the remainder of his career: the timeless struggle between man and nature proved to be a constant source of inspiration for the artist during his late years spent at Prouts Neck, Maine, where he created some of the most ambitious and iconic images in his oeuvre.
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF CAROLYN & ROGER HORCHOW
Sotheby’s is pleased to present a selection of works from the Collection of Carolyn & Roger Horchow, offered across a series of sales through 2021. S. Roger Horchow produced Broadway hits such as the Tony-winning musical, Crazy for You. Known for her impeccable taste and enviable style, Carolyn Horchow was also celebrated for immensely charitable pursuits in their shared home of Dallas, Texas. Together, the Horchow’s created their eponymous business, The Horchow Collection – the successful and pioneering, catalogue-only retail business. Roger and Carolyn greatly enjoyed selecting the luxury retail offerings themselves, creating a successful brand with their vision. The Horchows’ collection of fine art was profoundly moving and thoughtful in its range of subject and treatment, beginning with the sophistication of the Edward Hopper watercolor, from the delicate Joseph Stella florals to the bold color of Milton Avery, to the pure abstraction of Frank Stella and Ilya Bolotowsky. Speaking to Carolyn and Roger Horchow’s prescient eye, the Horchow collection features many works acquired in the early 1980s and 1990s, when few private collectors had focused their attention on American Art, let alone American Modernism.
The selection of works is led by Edward Hopper’s Gloucester Factory and House from 1924 (estimate $800,000/1,200,000). Hopper spent his first summer in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1912, and returned to this idyllic coastal town in 1923. During his second visit, Gloucester was brimming with other artists such as Stuart Davis and Milton Avery – along with a lesser known painter named Josephine “Jo” Nivison, whom Hopper would marry the following year. Jo proved instrumental in directing Hopper’s art and career, perhaps most significantly by persuading him to work in watercolor – a medium he had not used regularly since his days as an illustrator. Hopper began a series of works inspired by Gloucester homes, which in many ways anticipate the rest of his career. Executed during Hopper’s third visit to Gloucester in the summer of 1924, Gloucester House and Factory exemplifies the artist’s watercolors of this period. His commitment to commonplace subject matter – which he often infused with a subtle mood of mystery or melancholy – continued to offer his contemporary audience a fresh interpretation of the familiar American scene.
Charles Sheeler’s Kitchen of Governor’s Palace, Williamsburg, Va. stands as a cornerstone to the collection, a grounding for the artist’s own modernist and precisionist interest. It is a crucial work that amplifies the broader themes and modernist narratives that speak to the breadth of the Horchow Collection as a whole (estimate $250/350,000). Kitchen Williamsburg belongs to a series of works the artist created during a two-month stay in Williamsburg, Virginia from December 1935 to February 1936, when noted collector and philanthropist Abby Aldrich Rockefeller invited the artist to commemorate the success of the Rockefeller-funded restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Mrs. Rockefeller invited Sheeler to paint and photograph the historic grounds. While the photographs from this period have been lost, the visit spawned the creation of Kitchen Williamsburg, which was acquired by Sheeler’s renowned gallerist, Edith Halpert.
MILTON AVERY’S MENDER
FROM THE COLLECTION OF EZRA AND CECILE ZILKHA
Milton Avery’s oil on canvas Mender will star in our American Art live sale, on offer from the Collection of Ezra and Cecile Zilkha (estimate $800,000/1,200,000). Painted in 1960, Mender demonstrates Milton Avery’s mature interest in simplified compositional designs unified by form, color and surface and most likely depicts Avery’s beloved wife Sally, who, along with their daughter March, served as the artist’s most important subject and muse. Both women were frequent sources of inspiration for Avery and images of them pervade his oeuvre. The painting was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Zilkha from Avery’s primary dealer, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, in 1961, the year after it was painted, and has remained in their private collection since.
TWO CENTURIES: AMERICAN ART
Alongside the American Art live sale, Two Centuries: American Art is open for bidding online today through 11 December. The sale is the first among a series of online auctions dedicated to paintings, sculptures and works on paper that explore the diverse subject matter and artistic styles of American Art throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The auction features works by prominent Ashcan School artists such as William Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast and Everett Shinn being sold by An American Corporation. Leading the selection of Modernism on offer is a group of works on paper from the Collection of Carolyn & Roger Horchow, and sculptures from the Collection of Joseph & Blanche Blank. Two important portraits include William Merritt Chase’s Portrait of Miss B, on offer from the Richmond Art Museum, Indiana (estimate $80/120,000), and Winslow Homer’s portrait of Lucy Houghton Valentine (pictured above, estimate $150/250,000).