Auction Results: Passion & Humanity: The Susie Tompkins Buell Collection, April 4, 2019 @Phillips

The Susie Tompkins Buell collection delivered powerhouse results at its recent sale at Phillips in New York. The auction was led by a trio of masterworks by Edward Weston and Edward Steichen – all three found buyers and one of the Westons topped out at $788K. The rest of the sale was nearly white glove, with only two passes in the tightly edited 56 lot sale (leading to an overall Buy-In rate under 4%). Rare works by Dorothea Lange and Consuelo Kanaga provided consistent momentum to the sale, with 9 of the prints by the two artists jumping into positive surprise territory. In the end, the Total Sale Proceeds came in at roughly $5.4M, just under the top end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 56
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $3690000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $5557000
Total Lots Sold 54
Total Lots Bought In 2
Buy In % 3.57%
Total Sale Proceeds $5457625

Here is the breakdown (using our typical Low, Mid, and High definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 20
Total Low Lots Sold 20
Total Low Lots Bought In 0
Low Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $145000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $246125
Mid Total Lots 18
Total Mid Lots Sold 18
Total Mid Lots Bought In 0
Mid Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $372000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $565000
Total High Lots 18
Total High Lots Sold 16
Total High Lots Bought In 2
High Buy In % 11.11%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $5040000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $4646500

The top lot by High estimate was tied between three lots: lot 12, Edward Weston, Circus Tent, 1924, lot 15 Edward Steichen, Heavy Roses, Voulangis, France, 1914, and lot 21, Edward Weston, Palm Trunk, Cuernavaca, 1925, each estimated at $400000-600000. The Weston circus tent was the top outcome of the sale at $788000 (image above via Phillips), while the Steichen roses sold at $524000 and the Weston palm trunk sold at $275000.

90.74% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 9 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Phillips):

Lot 1, Consuelo Kanaga, Profile of a Young Girl from the Tennessee Series, 1948, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $106250

Lot 3, Dorothea Lange, Oklahoma Sharecropper and Family Entering California. Stalled on the Desert near Indio, California, 1937, estimated at $15000-25000, sold at $62500

Lot 23, Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, estimated at $100000-150000, sold at $337500

Lot 34, Consuelo Kanaga, Annie Mae Merriweather, 1935, estimated at $7000-9000, sold at $30000

Lot 35, Consuelo Kanaga, Annie Mae Merriweather, c1935, estimated at $7000-9000, sold at $20000

Lot 39, Consuelo Kanaga, Mother and Son (The Question, Florida), 1950, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $33750

Lot 45, Consuelo Kanaga, Portrait of Kenneth Spencer, 1933, estimated at $6000-8000, sold at $16250

Lot 46, Dorothea Lange, A Negro Boy Who Wants to Go to High School, His Father is a Sharecropper Near Earle, Arkansas, 1935, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $33750

Lot 48, Dorothea Lange, Mother and Children on the Road, Tulelake, Siskiyou County, California, 1939, estimated at $10000-15000, sold at $55000

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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