John Koch’S Siesta Achieves Top Lot At Bonhams American Art Sale

New York – The July 29 sale of American Art was led by strong prices for works across all genres and the top lot was John Koch’s Siesta painted in 1962, which realized $596,075. The sale realized $2,271,765, exceeding its pre-sale high estimate, and was 84% sold by lot, 96% by value.

Jennifer Jacobsen, Bonhams’ Director of American Art, commented: “We are thrilled with the success of our most recent sale of American Art. We saw competitive bidding across all of the genres offered in the category, demonstrating collectors’ demand for quality works and the strength of the current market. We are honored to have achieved such a strong price for John Koch’s elegant, beautifully painted work Siesta, which is now his second highest price at auction and a near miss of his world auction record.”

Siesta depicts the complexities of the male-female relationship in the guise of a domestic bedroom scene. Koch’s perspective on this subject was unique in that he explored both physical beauty and social issues, including race, sexual norms, and domestic relations.  This work was chosen for the cover of Time Magazine in 1964 for a special issue entitled SEX in the U.S.: Mores & Morality.


Further highlights in the sale included:

  • Walt Kuhn, Lady in Vest, oil on canvas, painted in 1939, a fantastically bold and modern portrait of a performer, sold for $312,575
  • John Singer Sargent, Mrs. John C. Tomlinson, oil on canvas, painted circa 1904, from the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Foundation, sold for $212,575
  • John Koch, Summer Night, oil on canvas, painted in 1965, another painting from the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Foundation, sold for $162,575
  • Gary Erbe, Those Amazin’ Mets, oil on canvas, painted in 2005-06, sold for $30,075, a world auction record for the artist