Benton and Sandzen lead Kansas City Collections Auction
By Circle Auction | Oct 2023
ircle Auction’s Kansas City Collection event wrapped up October 28th. The resounding message was clear, collectors are actively pursuing works by two local artists: Kansas City’s Thomas Hart Benton and Birger Sandzen of Lindsborg, KS. Pieces by both artists averaged above their high estimates, drawing attention from bidders both locally and nationally.
Thomas Hart Benton lithograph results:
Thomas Hart Benton lithographs continue to be a major attraction for national and local collectors alike. This auction was the first time Circle has offered an example of Benton’s 1955 “Running Horses”. This rare and highly sought after lithograph combines two thematic elements many Benton collectors are seeking: trains and horses. All three Benton works saw active bidding, two selling above the high estimate:
- “Sorghum Mill” (1969), a signed lithograph, had an estimate of $1,500 – $2,500 and was sold for $2,600.
- “Running Horses” (1955), another signed lithograph, fetched $7,250, within its estimate of $7,000 – $10,000.
- “Making Camp” (1972) surpassed expectations. With an initial estimate of $2,500 – $4,000, the signed lithograph sold for $5,750.
Birger Sandzen Oil Painting Headlines Auction:
The true highlight of the auction was Birger Sandzen’s “Gray Day, Logan, Utah” (1930), an original oil on board. With an estimate ranging from $25,000 – $35,000, this sought after middle period Birger Sandzen ultimately sold for $39,000. The competitive bidding was driven by both local and national interest represented by bidders locally in Kansas City, Wichita, and Topeka; nationally from Dallas, TX, Danbury, CT, and Bridgewater, NJ. (Read our article about Sandzen and the painting here.)
Birger Sandzen “Gray Day, Logan, Utah” 1930 Oil on Board – Sold for $39,000.
Birger Sandzen lithographs and linocuts were also in high demand with five out of seven pieces exceeding the high estimate. The 1929 “Blue Valley Farm” was the highest selling Sandzen print, hammering at a surprising $2,000; more than twice the typical auction result for this image.
- “Prairie Stream” (1939 Linocut) sold for $900.
- “Farm on the Smoky” (1935 Linocut) fetched $700.
- “Early Summer” (1923 Lithograph) surprised with a final bid of $1,100.
- “Mountain Slope” (1925 Lithograph) realized $450.
- “Blue Valley Farm” (1929 Linocut) soared to $2,000.
- “Creek with Trees” (1921 Lithograph) achieved $1,000.
- “Sunshine Lake” (1928 Linocut) settled at $600.
Birger Sandzen “Blue Valley Farm” 1929 Linocut – Sold for $2,000
Other highlights of the auction included both local and nationally sought after painters as well as fine jewelry:
- William Franklin Jackson’s “Coast Near San Francisco” oil painting sold for $8,000.
- Aaron Pyle’s “Winter” (1965) Tempera on Board garnered $4,800.
- An 18k Cornflower Blue Sapphire Diamond Ring dazzled with a final bid of $4,600.
- A pair of Antoine Blanchard oil paintings sold for $3,700 and $4,500, respectively.
- Lawrence, KS-based artist Robert Sudlow’s “Burt’s Pond, Late Light” oil piece fetched $2,500.
Circle Auction also noted a robust turnout at their Kansas City auction gallery during the open house preview on October 26-27. The peak of attendance was observed during the preview party the evening of October 27th. Attendees were treated to complimentary drinks and tacos from Taco Cacao.
The Circle Auction team is staying busy, turning around to open their next auction in one week. Online bidding will be open for The Campanella Collection of Original Thomas Hart Benton Works starting November 4th.
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