Washington Crossing the Delaware · an American masterpiece comes up for auction

Washington Crossing the Delaware · an American masterpiece comes up for auction On May 12, Christie’s will auction one of the two versions of “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, one of the most iconic works in the history of American painting. By G. Fernandez · theartwolf · Image: Emanuel Leutze, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” 1851. Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 172.7 cm. (40 x 68 in.) In a season of blockbusters, Christie’s has announced the missing piece. The May 2022 art auctions in New York already included an icon of 20th century art (Warhol’s “Marilyn” valued at $200 million), one of the great names of European art (the early drawing by Michelangelo to be auctioned in Paris), and as of yesterday, a masterpiece of modern Asian art (“29.09.64.”, one of the most important paintings by Zao Wou-Ki in private hands). And to complete the party, Christie’s has announced the auction of one of the great icons in the history of American painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. Painted in 1851, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” depicts, in a rather idealized form, one of the key episodes of the American War of Independence. The painting’s fame, coupled with its historical inaccuracy, have led to numerous reinterpretations of the composition, such as Robert Colescott’s “George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware.” Leutze created three versions of the painting; the original being destroyed during World War II. Of the remaining two, the most famous version -and by far the largest- is the one preserved in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The smaller version coming up for auction at Christie’s was on view at the White House from 1979 to 2014, before being acquired by the founders of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, who have now put the painting up for sale. The painting will be offered next May 12 at Christie’s 20th century art auction, following the trend of including old masters and 19th century works in the Modern and Contemporary art auctions in order to attract wealthier buyers, as happened with the “Salvator Mundi” sold for a record price in 2017. Christie’s has published a pre-sale estimate of between $15 million and $20 million, which seems quite conservative considering the importance of the painting. It is well known that, in general, pre-Impressionism 19th century art does not fetch prices comparable to modern art, but in a market hungry for icons, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” is one of the most iconic works to come on the market in recent years. Its importance may be comparable to the other American paintings of the same period such as “Kindred Spirits” (1849) by Asher Brown Durand, acquired by Alice Walton for $35 million in 2005, or “The Jolly Flatboatmen” by George Caleb Bingham, acquired in 2015 by the National Gallery of Washington for an unconfirmed price, but certainly very high considering that the painting had been sold in 1986 for $6 million. Interestingly, the aforementioned “George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware” by Robert Colescott was acquired last year by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art for $15.3 million. Vanessa Fusco, co-director of the 20th Century Art auction, stated that “’Washington Crossing the Delaware’ is more than a painting; it is an image that has transcended any single canvas, or the artist who created it. Leutze’s composition has been reused and reinterpreted by artists from Grant Wood to Robert Colescott, and found its way into popular imagery from the Saturday Evening Post to The New Yorker.” #2022 #ArtMarket #theartwolf

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ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

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ART magazine aimed to offer an original & independent point of view about the Art World ▷ Its news, events, protagonists, glories and miseries.