Son's portrait of Wyeth fetches record $2.4 million

NEW YORK Tue Dec 7, 2010 7:03pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A portrait of renowned American painter Andrew Wyeth by his son James sold for $2.4 million at an auction benefiting Maine's Farnworth Museum's Andrew Wyeth endowment, the museum said on its Web site.

Twelve works donated for the November 29 auction at Manhattan's Adelson Galleries took in a total of more than $4 million, the gallery said on Tuesday.

"Portrait of Andrew Wyeth," an early, 24-by-32 inch oil-on-canvas from 1969 by the artist's son Jamie, 64, fetched $2.4 million, setting a new artist's record.

Wyeth, known for his realist works that proved immensely popular with the American public, died in 2009 aged 91. The endowment, which supports Farnworth's Wyeth Center, Wyeth Study Center and Wyeth Research Center in Rockland, Maine, was announced months after his death.

The museum began acquiring Wyeth works before its 1948 opening and owns more than 60 works by members of the family.

The auction on November 29, which made a significant dent in the endowment's $12 million target, was attended by several Wyeth family members, including brothers Jamie and Nicky and Jamie's wife Phyllis, as well as philanthropist and art collector David Rockefeller Sr.

(Writing by Chris Michaud, Editing by Greg McCune)