George Catlin's Interior of a Mandan Lodge makes $1.5m at Sotheby's auction

Just this last week, we were noting the strong draw of 19th century artist George Catlin's works for collectors for bidders at Ketterer Kunst, where the artist's portfolio of Native American images were held in Germany despite a strong pull from collectors in the United States.

Well, the artist has done it again, convincingly leading Sotheby's American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture auction, which brought $24,557,750 (roughly as expected) with 71.2% percent of the lots sold.

The auction was highlighted by a group of four paintings of Native Americans by Catlin, on offer from The Field Museum in Chicago and originally in the collection of Benjamin O'Fallon - nephew of William Clark and the 'United States Indian Agent' for the Missouri River Tribes.

George Catlin Interior Mandan Lodge
George Catlin's evocative Interior of a Mandan Lodge

Together the works brought $4,576,000, led by Interior of a Mandan Lodge that sold for $1,538,500 above a high estimate of $1.2 million.

Other than this, five determined bidders drove Marsden Hartley's Untitled (Still Life) to a remarkable $3,218,500, more than three times the high estimate of $900,000 and the single highest price in today's auction.

The work was on offer from the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, Kansas, and depicts a blooming cactus in a Pueblo Indian blackware olla, set on a red and white striped table cloth with a view of the New Mexico landscape behind.

Property from the estate of New York literary figure Helen Marx performed exceptionally well, with all but two of the 18 lots on offer finding buyers and two works selling over $1 million: Martin Johnson Heade's Orchids and Hummingbirds, which nearly tripled its high estimate of $700,000 in achieving $1,986,500, and Orange Trees and Gate by Winslow Homer that brought $1,314,500 (est. $500/700,000).

Winslow Homer is of course a great favourite of collector Bill Gates.

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