Hindman's Gertrude Abercrombie Sale Realizes Close to $3 Million – Double the Estimate
CHICAGO – On September 28, Laura and Gary Maurer’s renowned collection of paintings by the late Chicago Surrealist artist Gertrude Abercrombie realized more than $2.8 million in total. With a captivated crowd packed into Hindman’s West Loop headquarters, bidders were ready to eagerly compete for the widest offering of Abercrombie paintings to ever come to market from the most distinguished collectors of her work. Remarkable prices were achieved for works that exemplified this hometown heroine’s wit and talent.
“As I stepped onto the podium, the energy in the room was undeniable,” commented Hindman Vice President and Senior Specialist for Fine Art Joe Stanfield. “The opportunity to present a collection as significant as the Maurers’ was truly amazing, and the extraordinary response and results reflect how carefully it was curated.”
Over the past decade, the genius of Abercrombie’s work has been discovered, and Chicago-based collectors Laura and Gary Maurer’s collection was the most impressive display of her talent. Emerging as the top lot of the sale was the supernatural self-portrait Self and Cat (Possims) (lot 14), which sold for $375,000. Celebrated for her self-portraits, this painting is exemplary of Abercrombie’s magical world, with her beloved cat Possim positioned as an important character.
“It was pure magic to work with such a charmed collection and such charming collectors,” commented Zack Wirsum, Hindman Director and Senior Specialist for Post-War & Contemporary Art. “Sharing Gertrude’s unique vision with so many new eyes is what auction dreams are made of.”
Emerging as the second top performer of the day was Abercrombie’s 1949 Self-Imprisonment (lot 10), which sold for an incredibly strong price of $281,250. This painting conveys the artist’s feelings of isolation and self-doubt that show up continuously throughout her body of work. Abercrombie scholar Susan Weininger notes that it is “a powerful statement about how one’s internal deficiencies can limit external actions.” Bidders were clearly struck by the work and drove the price up to far above its $60,000-80,000 estimate. Reflecting a similar theme of insecurity, Abercrombie’s witty Blue Screen from 1945 (lot 8) grabbed the attention of bidders, ultimately realizing $225,000 against a $50,000-70,000 estimate.
Strong prices were also achieved for Abercrombie’s beloved cats, owls and winding paths. Owl and Tornado (lot 16) sold for $187,500, more than four times its presale estimate, and her Siamese Cat (lot 17) also sold for $187,500, well above its $15,000-25,000 estimate. Highlighting the offering of landscapes was Abercrombie’s somber Visit at Midnight (Road Leading Home) (lot 3), which sold for 162,500, more than double its presale estimate. Alone (The Stroll) (lot 6) was another highlight which far surpassed its $30,000-50,000 estimate to sell for $150,000.
Bidding for the September 28th auction was available in-person at Hindman’s Chicago saleroom, via absentee bid, telephone and online via Hindman’s Digital Bid Room and additional online bidding platforms.
Additional information about the collection and auction results can be found here.
Read CGN's feature on the Abercrombie sale and Hindman's 40th Anniversary here