Circle Auction Sells Extensive Birger Sandzén Collection
By Circle Auction | March 2020
In late 2019 and early 2020, Circle Auction was honored to sell an extensive group of items by Kansas-based artist Birger Sandzen (1871-1954) from an anonymous Kansas City area collection, including four original oils and 125 signed lithographs and block prints. Sold in Art and Antique auctions that took place in December and March, the total project was perhaps the largest collection of Sandzen pieces ever to come to auction at the same time. The strong results of this collection demonstrates the voracious appetite of Sandzen’s market.
Four oils were sold in December, each of which sold in or above the auction estimate. Cedar and Red Rocks (ca. 1922), a rugged Colorado view and the largest of the four, sold for a hammer price of $110,000. Utah Farm Barns (1929) and The Old Mill (1929), two handsome Utah landscapes, sold for hammer prices of $36,000 and $35,000 respectively. And beautiful, early still life Roses (1915) sold for a hammer price of $19,000.
The collection of lithographs, woodcuts, and linocuts were divided between December and March. In total, the 125 prints sold for hammer prices totaling $71,405 without including the buyer’s premium, exceeding the collective high estimate of $67,900. A number of apparent auction records were set for individual lithographs. The Sandzen collection had a 100% sold rate, a tribute to the power of the artist’s work and the adoration that persists nearly seven decades after his death.
BIRGER SANDZEN SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
The pair of auctions at large featured over 450 lots, including paintings, sculpture, and signed prints by other American artists including Thomas Hart Benton, William Wendt, James McNeill Whistler, Robert Merrell Gage, David Johnson, George Ames Aldrich, Henry Balink, William Wiley, Ernest Tino Trova, James Fitzgibbon, AD Greer, and Oscar Gunnarson. Also offered were a variety of antiques, modern design, and jewelry. Altogether, over 91% of lots in these auctions were sold.
All of the Circle Auction staff has been genuinely thankful for the opportunity to handle and disseminate this wonderful variety of work by a great artist in Birger Sandzen. Sandzen’s impact on the Kansas art community and surrounding regions simply cannot be overstated. Many thanks to the bidders as well, whose passion and interest makes our jobs possible. We take great pride in the chance to participate in the dealing of fine works like these–it’s why we are in the business–and particularly in honoring the earnest work of a generous man with the highest local stature.
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