Cordier Auctions Sets New World Auction Record!

May 24, 2024



Louisa McElwain, "Song of the High Desert" (1999) [Sold: $48,360]

Harrisburg, PA – [May 17, 2024] Cordier Auctions in Harrisburg, PA has achieved a new world auction record for New Mexico landscape painter Louisa McElwain (American, 1953 – 2013). During their May 16th Fine & Decorative Arts auction, her painting "Song Of The High Desert" sold for $48,360. Never before has her artwork achieved such an amount at auction.

Erika Kelly, President of Cordier, explains, “This is our third sale of a Louisa McElwain painting and we knew it was a very special painting even before the online viewing stats took off. We recorded over 700 views of this painting on LiveAuctioneers alone. Our 20th Century Fine Arts Specialist, and company owner, Larry Johnson is knowledgeable about her work and had even met her at an arts function at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico in the early 2000's.”

Johnson adds, “I was taking a watercolor painting class with Pomona Hallenbeck when Louisa McElwain came with her pick up truck rigged with her plein air set up and talked with us about her work. She had been painting at Ghost Ranch that day, and she had a painting on the truck easel.”

McElwain’s hallmark style is her extraordinary ability to capture the essence of the New Mexico desert and the American Southwest skyline. “Song of the High Desert,” painted in 1999, revels in the eerie silence of an oncoming storm perched over the jagged Rocky Mountains. McElwain passed away 2013, but her abstract landscapes continue to characterize her body of work.

As a third sale, McElwain set itself as a record breaker not just for Cordier but also in the auction world, too.

The Fine & Decorative Arts auction collectively brought in over $275,000 in sales, including buyer’s premium, on a total of 143 lots. Several of the top lots for the auction included notable contemporary and 20th century art pieces. Other lots in the auction included a collection of Lalique, high end jewelry, Asian snuff bottles, and several Southwest American Indian items.

One standout amongst the collection was an elegant painting of Southwestern plateaus, titled “Shadowed Walls,” by Ed Mell (American, 1942-2024), which brought $92,000. Ed Mell’s work celebrates geometric abstraction of the Western landscape with vivid and bold colors. “Shadowed Walls” has become one of the top selling works by Ed Mell.

Another lot had a beautiful figural plaque by famed French glass maker, Lalique, which brought $2,728. A sculpture of two intwined fish brought an additional $1,840. Lalique is timeless with their exquisite craftsmanship, and they continue to remain a sought-after collectable around the world.

For forty years, Cordier Auctions continues to demonstrate their expertise and success in the auction industry, setting new records and bringing new discoveries to a worldwide audience from Central Pennsylvania. From fine art to unique collectables and antiques, they are continuing to deliver record-breaking results and, as such, have set themselves as industry leaders.

For more information, visit our website: Call or email now for your free consultation at: 717-731-8662 or [email protected]. All prices realized include buyers premium.


18K White Gold Patek Philippe Wrist Watch [Sold: $8,060]      ||        Lalique Deux Poissons [Sold: $1,840]       ||     George J. McNeil "14th Street" (1987) [Sold: $11,780]

Ed Mell, "Shadowed Walls" (1983 [Sold: $92,000]