The catalog cover for the year-ending Treadway-Toomey Galleries' 20th Century Art & Design Auction showcased what was believed to be the sale's most valuable piece, an illustrious Tiffany Studios Memorial landscape window estimated at $90,000 to $120,000. And on Dec. 4 in Oak Park, Ill., the Tiffany masterpiece did realize $114,000. But it ranked second among top sellers. In a surprising twist, a Karl Schmidt triptych estimated at $6,000 to $8,000 stole the show when bidding escalated to achieve $120,000, a record price for this American painter's work.
A dreamy landscape with billowing, saffron-toned clouds and splashes of aquamarine sky, Schmidt's "Tall Trees of California" was implemented in oil on board in 1915. Hinged together in original frames, the three-panel painting was 30 inches wide by 14 inches high. A native of Worcester, Mass., who spent much of his life in California, Schmidt (1890-1962) was known for his landscape and marine paintings.