The reclusive heiress Huguette Clark sold her first painting Wednesday, three years after her death at 104. She did okay, too, with two paintings of Fifth Avenue (as seen from a window of her Manhattan mansion) each going for $19,000 at a Christie’s auction in New York.
A self-portrait of the artist holding a palette went for $13,000, and Clark’s work titled “Cereus, night blooming cactus” fetched $6,000, our colleague Melinda Henneberger reports.
At least four descendants of Huguette’s father, billionaire copper baron and Montana senator William A. Clark, were among those bidding. Rodney Devine — whose grandmother Mary Clark was the senator’s eldest daughter and Huguette’s half-sister — took home the senator’s leather satchel, which has “Wm. A. Clark U.S. Senator” embossed on the front. The item was valued at $500 to $800; he paid $13,000. Devine also bought a bust of his great-grandfather, by Percy Bryant Baker, for $11,000.
Huguette so admired her mother Anna’s Paris-made, gray-painted bed — upholstered with Chinoiserie-patterned silk damask — that she had a copy re-created for herself at considerable expense. But bidders shied away, and when Anna’s original went for only $1,100, Christie’s executive/auctioneer Andrew McVinish called out: “Sweet dreams!” But Anna’s enameled silver Tiffany dressing set went for $10,000, and her harps for $11,000 and $17,000.
John Singer Sargent’s “Girl Fishing at San Vigilio” — which hung for years in the Corcoran and was valued at $3 million to $5 million — sold for $3.4 million.