Past Auction

Important Paintings

Wed, May 20, 2020 at 11am EDT |
New York
View Lots

A World Auction Record for Richard Stankiewicz -- $162,500!


Download Catalog PDF
  • Auction of Important Paintings on May 20, 2020
  • A World Auction Record for Richard Stankiewicz and an American Auction Record for Cecil Skotnes!
  • Consignments Are Currently Being Accepted for Future Auctions

NEW YORK, NY -- The exceptional prices – including two auction records – achieved at Doyle’s auction of Important Paintings on May 20, 2020 reflects the continued strength of the international art market. Bidders from across America and abroad vied for paintings, drawings and sculpture by prominent artists spanning the late 19th through the early 21st centuries.

A special section of the sale was devoted to works from the Estate of New York collectors Richard and Carole Rifkind. This remarkable collection featured two early Richard Stankiewicz assemblage sculptures, an important still life by Abstract Expressionist painter Grace Hartigan, and a sublime work on paper by Louise Bourgeois.

Also highlighted in special sections were Washington Color School paintings from the Collection of Gilbert and Sandra Oken and a stellar group of works by women artists.

A World Auction Record for Richard Stankiewicz – $162,500

Determined bidders drove a metal assemblage sculpture by Richard Stankiewicz soaring past its estimate of $20,000-30,000 to a stunning $162,500 -- A World Auction Record for the Artist. Property from the Estate of Carole and Richard Rifkin, Tribal Diagram was created by Stankiewicz in the mid-1950s from found metal objects welded together.

The sculpture of Richard Stankiewicz (1922-1983) is revolutionary in its definition of assemblage art. His lyrical scrap metal sculptures drew a line through abstraction to future Contemporary art movements and supplied a much-needed counterpoint to action painting. The energy and motion Stankiewicz achieved with his welded creations were genre-defining and created a path forward to the work of Mike Kelley, Sarah Lucas, Monica Bonvinci and many others, appearing just as vital and contemporary today as when they were crafted.  Read More

An American Auction Record for Cecil Skotnes – $106,250

A large-scale painting by Cecil Skotnes set bidders from both sides of the Atlantic in heated competition, sending the work far over its estimate of $20,000-30,000 to achieve $106,250 – An American Auction Record for the Artist. Property of a La Jolla Collection, the circa 1980 painted and incised wood panel measuring 49 5/8 x 97 1/2 inches was acquired from the artist by the consignor.

The grand scale of Cecil Skotnes’ work evokes the enormity of the African landscape itself, and the angst reflects the tragedy and turmoil he witnessed first-hand in South Africa. A London-born son of a missionary family, Skotnes (1926-2009) grew to become an indispensable teacher and mentor who looked to democratize the South African art world in the face of Apartheid. His heavily-incised panels embrace abstraction while referencing Skotnes’ deep passion for religious art and his undying devotion to South Africa.  Read More

Strong Prices for Women Artists

The art world is embracing a long-overdue sea change: the work of incredibly gifted women artists are finally beginning to receive the credit and adulation they have always deserved – and their works are achieving exceptional prices.

The Rifkind Collection featured an important floral still life from 1954 by Abstract Expressionist painter Grace Hartigan (1922-2008) that was the top lot of the day, realizing $187,500, far beyond its estimate of $80,000-100,000. Also from the Rifkind Collection, a sublime work on paper from 1968 by Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) estimated $100,000-150,000 realized $175,000.

A bronze sculpture from 1968 by British artist Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) from the Estate of Patricia Patterson doubled its estimate of $50,000-70,000, selling for $125,000. Strong prices were also achieved for works by Tamara de Lempicka, Harriet Frishmuth, Elaine de Kooning and Lolo Soldevilla, among others.  Read Essay on 10 Women Artists

Washington Color School

Beginning in the mid-1960s, the Washington, DC area group of artists known as the Washington Color School pioneered new experiments in painting, including shaping canvases and applying color. Working directly with several of the Color School artists, Gilbert and Sandra Oken built a stellar collection of their work. Highlighting the Collection of Gilbert and Sandra Oken are bold, bright works by Paul Reed, Howard Merhing and Thomas Downing that performed exceptionally well.

Paul Reed’s (1919-2015) #2B from 1965 estimated at $10,000-15,000 achieved $25,000; Magenta Double from 1964 by Howard Mehring (1931-1978) estimated at $15,000-20,000 sold for $23,750; and an untitled shaped-canvas painting by Thomas Downing (1928-1985) more than tripled its $5,000-7,000, realizing $21,250. Read Essay on the Washington Color School

All prices include the Buyer's Premium.

A Deeper Dive

Read a group of scholarly essays profiling highlights of the Important Paintings auction.  Read A Deeper Dive


We Invite You to Auction!

Consignments are currently being accepted for future auctions. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction appraisal. Our specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.

For information, please call 212-427-4141, ext 249, or email [email protected]

Consignments are currently being accepted

To have your property evaluated for possible consignment in the next auction, please contact:

Angelo Madrigale
212-427-4141, ext 249
[email protected]

Shani Toledano
212-427-4141, ext 249
[email protected]

Bill Fiddler
212-427-4141, ext 249
[email protected]

Media Contact

Louis LeB. Webre
SVP, Marketing & Media
212-427-4141, ext 232
[email protected]

  • A La Jolla Family Collection
  • Collection of Gilbert & Sandra Oken
  • Estate of a Palm Beach Heiress
  • Estate of Eugen Gluck
  • Estate of Janine Metz
  • Estate of Laura M. Mako
  • Estate of Lucie T. Bard
  • Estate of Miriam K. Rothenberg
  • Estate of Patricia Patterson
  • Estate of Richard and Carole Rifkind
  • Estate of Robin R. Henry
  • Peter J. & Mary Ann Ruda Brickfield Revocable Living Trust
  • Property of a Massachusetts Private Collector
  • Property of an Elegant Lady
  • The Nelson Doubleday, Jr. Collection
  • The Patricia and Donald Oresman Collection

A Selection of Auction Highlights

View All Lots