NANTUCKET, MASS. — On Saturday, August 3, Rafael Osona Auctions conducted an Americana, fine arts and marine auction that was highlighted by the sale of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s family dining table and ten Windsor pine dining chairs for $65,000. Anyone who might have thought that the Kennedy mystique was fading was clearly not on Nantucket on Saturday, August 3.
While the Kennedy items were certainly the most famous lots in the annual auction, the highest price went to a painting by Anne Ramsdell Congdon (1873–1958) that sold for $87,500. It was followed by an oil on canvas, “Portrait of the US Corvette Ranger in Full Sail on the Open Sea,” by the contemporary English artist Tim Thompson (b 1951). The 36-by-48-inch signed work sailed away at $55,575.
Another top fine art lot was a mixed media on paper work by Milton Avery (American, 1885–1965). Titled “Haircut,” the 30-by-32-inch, 1963 work was signed lower left and sold at $45,000. From a different century, a pair of Nantucket portraits: Captain Robert Joy (1793–1862) and Sally Hussy Joy (1797–1882), oil on pine panels, were unsigned. The pair of 27-by-23-inch portraits sold for $29,250.
Topping the furniture category was a Connecticut River Valley cherry chest on chest of drawers, Greenfield, Mass., circa 1780, that realized $28,080. Captain Elihu Goodman Arms was a captain in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and after the war, he owned an inn in Greenfield; the piece descended in the original family.
Another interesting offering came in the form of a polychromed engraved portrait of a full-rigged ship on starboard tack with sails set on calm blue tinted sea, circa 1830s. Engraved on a piece of sperm whale panbone with a later surface applied gold painted theater columns and the initials H.M. (Herman Melville?) in the sky, coming from the collection of William J. Boylhart, it sold for $32,760
A rare baleen and cane Nantucket lightship basket, circa 1850, by Samuel Crawford (b 1827) went to $14,040. It sported a round form with a swing handle, rare baleen staves, four interior concentric rings in the base and it had an original paper label on the bottom that read “Made by S.C. Crawford, Nantucket, Mass.”
From New England to Asia, several fine pieces of jade and bronze were among the top lots. A very fine pale celadon jade “Shouxing” group sold at $22,230; a Mogul-style pale celadon jade vase and cover sold for $20,475; and two Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze Bohisattva figures, Nineteenth Century, each figure seated on double lotus pedestal and clad in princely attire, went to $10,830 for both.
Other fine art works included a sentimental favorite by Edgar W. Jenney (Nantucket, Twentieth Century) “Miss Gladys Wood’s Living Room,” watercolor on paper of an interior scene of 139 Main Street, Nantucket, which realized $9,945. Frank Swift Chase (1886–1958), “Inner Harbor,” oil on artist board, with a pencil study on verso, 8 by 10 inches, sold for $9,360. A pair of Nineteenth Century watercolors: “His Britc. Majs. Frigate Macedonian,” with legend: John S. Carden Esqr, Commander; Captured by the U.S. Frigate United States Steph. Decatur Esqr. Commander; and “The U.S. Frigate Constitution,” with legend: Isaac Hull Esqr. Commander Capturing his Brit. Majs. Frigate Guerriere. James R. Dacres Esqs. Commander sold for $17,550. Each was 21¾ by 30¾ inches.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 508-228-3942 or www.rafaelosonaauctions.com.