| NEW YORK
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A depiction of Santa Claus by
Norman Rockwell could fetch up to $3.5 million when it is sold
with other works in what is expected to be one of the most
valuable sales of American art, Christie's said.
The auction of paintings, drawings and sculpture on Nov 29
in New York will feature 220 lots which could sell for more
than $59 million. Apart from Rockwell, it will feature iconic
American artists such as Edward Hopper and Frederic Remington.
"We have strong material and extraordinary depth in
virtually every category of American art. It's a big deal, and
there is a lot of positive buzz out there about the sale," said
Eric Widing, the head of the American paintings department.
The collection includes masterworks by American
Impressionists, the Ashcan School and Modernist artists.
Rockwell's "Extra Good Boys and Girls" will add a seasonal
"It's a joyful picture. This is the most celebrated of
Rockwell's Christmas pictures," Widing said.
Three works by Remington, an artist who specialized in
depictions of the American West, will also be up for sale. They
include "The Bronco Buster" and "The Signal (If Skulls Could
Speak)," which could sell for up to $6 million.
Other highlights include Georgia O'Keeffe's "Trees at
Glorieta, New Mexico," Childe Hassam's "Sunset at Sea" and
"Prospect Street, Gloucester" by Hopper.
While there have been concerns about how the sales will
fare in the face of recent economic troubles, Widing said the
art market is extremely healthy.
The American art sale follows a successful contemporary art
auction earlier this month in New York, which achieved the
second-best auction result ever.
"I haven't seen any evidence of economic concerns cutting
into sales in the other departments. And based on the people
that have already come to the exhibition and are keen to buy, I
think we will see very strong prices and a very strong sale
overall," Widing said.
While the weak dollar may put some of Christie's European
and Japanese art aficionados at an advantage, he said, the
impact will be limited as most of the buyers are expected to be
from the United States.