homas Pritchard Rossiter and Louis Remy Mignot, "Washington and Lafayette," oil, 38 1/2 by 60 1/4 inches.

The top sale at Sotheby’s American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture auction yesterday was “Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon, 1784,” estimated to bring between $50,000 to $70,000 but which hauled in $305,000 instead. A larger version of Thomas Pritchard Rossiter’s and Louis Remy Mignot’s painting hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

I somehow overlooked this painting when I was making my sage suggestions to Alice Walton on what she should pick up for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. 


Another painting I didn’t mention, which also sold for much more than its estimate ($100,000 to $150,00), was Willard Leroy Metcalf’s pretty “A Seaside Pasture,” which sold for $269,000. 

Just because a work of art at auction sells for far more than its estimate doesn’t mean Walton bought it, but if she wants something, her deeper pockets might allow her to go a bit higher than other American bidders. “Washington and Lafayette” seems right for her collection. We’ll find out someday.