Huguette Clark’s “Cereus, night blooming cactus.” (Oil on canvas.)


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.



Clark collection tells the story of a privileged and peculiar life