The collection of Tom Slick - a Texan adventurer and heir to the Slick Oil Company - was highlighted yesterday (November 28) by the sale of Georgia O'Keeffe's Sun Water Maine.
Sold as part of the American Art auction at Christie's New York, the work brought $2.2m, achieving a 47.3% increase on its $1.5m high estimate. Sun Water Maine provided the auction's second highest bids, with Edward Hopper's October on Cape Cod selling as top lot.
Slick (1916-1962) is best known for his investigations into the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, Bigfoot and his work in cryptozoology. His life was due to be portrayed by Nicholas Cage in a movie entitled Tom Slick: Monster Hunter, though the project was never realised.
The oil heir was also known as a keen collector of modern art, with Sun Water Maine standing as one of the many highlights in his collection. Created in 1922, the work is a brilliant example of O'Keeffe's mastery of the pastel medium and is considered one of her most important early works.
The artist first visited Maine in 1920 and returned to the area several times over the decade. "For Georgia... the trip to Maine was a revelation. Standing at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, she felt again the bliss of a wide flat horizon, the sense of boundlessness and solitude that she had valued in Texas," explained Roxana Robinson in her 1989 book, Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life.
The current world record for O'Keeffe's work at auction is held by Calla Lilies with Red Anemone, which sold for $6.1m at Christie's in 2001.
Learn more about Georgia O'Keeffe.