Thomas Hart Benton, Hans Zatzka more than triple estimates in Nov. 10 Dallas auction
An intimate late career landscape by leading French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir – Pierre Auguste Renoir’s Trois personnages dans un paysage – brought $167,300 on Wednesday, Nov. 10 in Heritage Auction’s Signature® Fine American & European Art Auction at the company’s Dallas Design District Annex, 1518 Slocum Street. The auction tallied $1.34 million overall, with more than 450 bidders vying for 260 total lots.
“We’re very pleased with the results,” said Ed Beardsley, Managing Director of Heritage’s Department of Fine Arts. “Certainly Renoir’s shimmering Cagnes-Sur-Mer landscape was an exciting lot, and we saw prices remain steady and bidding quite competitive across the board.”
Thomas Moran’s Venice, Grand Canal, 1903 – a painting that will be included in a forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s works – exceeded its pre-auction estimate of $70,000+ to finish the day at $131,450 amidst spirited bidding.
While perhaps best known for his magnificent views of the American West, particularly his topographically meticulous depictions of Yellowstone that played a major role in convincing Congress to make the region a national park in 1872, the revered American landscapist is also famous for his iridescent scenes of Venice. Moran first visited the jewel of the Adriatic in May of 1886 and produced a number of sketches which he later developed into oil paintings in his studio. In this wonderful example from 1903, which remains in its original unrestored condition, Moran took full advantage of the mirror-like potential of the lagoon to create a dazzling interplay of color and light through the reflections of architecture and fishing vessels on the surface of the water.
British painter Harold Knight’s By the Window yielded one of the most surprising and pleasant moments of the auction, soaring to a $44,813 final price realized, more than four times its pre-auction base estimate of $10,000+.
“The Knight was a decidedly great result,” said Beardsley. “The quality of this work is immediately apparent in the confident broad brushwork, and sophisticated color harmonies in the silvery palette. Private collectors and dealers went head to head on this lovely picture.”
Examples from Hudson River School painters continue to perform well in Heritage Fine Art auctions, with the Nov. 10 auction providing no exception as Thomas Doughty’s Catskills, c. 1848, fresh to the market after nearly 35 years in a private collection, more than doubled pre-auction estimates to bring $26,680.
The work of Regionalist Thomas Hart Benton was very strong in the auction, with his watercolor Two Bathers, circa 1919-21, more than tripling its pre-auction estimate of $8,000+ to finish at $26,680. The painting dates from a short but important transitional phase in Benton’s artistic development just following his Synchromist experiments from which extant works are exceedingly rare. Hans Zatzka’s Harem Entertainers performed similarly well among feverish international bidding, as it tripled pre-auction estimates of $7,000+ to end the day at $21,510. A history painting by German artist Emanuel Leutze, author of celebrated American icon Washington Crossing the Delaware (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), recrossed the Atlantic to return home to Germany to a thrilled private collector.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.