Helen Frankenthaler is best known as an American Abstract Expressionist painter. Her work has been exhibited internationally since the 1950s, with her first famous work being Mountains and Sea.
Perhaps because her reputation does not lie in this area, a metal sculpture entitled Pedestal was estimated at a relatively modest $10,000-$15,000. The 1972 work is 23 inches tall and formed of welded steel secured by bolts.
Interested attendees flatly ignored the estimate and intense bidding buffeted the price all the way up to six times its estimate, finally selling for $74,500 - a surprise top lot.
The second most expensive piece was less of a surprise. Leon Polk Smith's abstract work Black-White Repeat had been expected to sell for $35,000-$45,000. Intrigued bidders pushed it just past that to $47,500.