Maine Landscape By Fitz Henry Lane Leads Skinner’s Paintings Auction At $1.4 Million

BOSTON, MASS. — When a Fitz Henry Lane painting comes to market, people sit up and take notice. Lane’s 1862 view of the Camden Hills in Maine attracted notice and brought $1,384,000 at Skinner’s September 20 paintings sale. “Camden Mountains from the Graves” was signed, dated and dedicated to the artist’s close friend J.L. Stevens Jr of Gloucester and Castine, Maine, as a memento of their September 1855 trip to Penobscot Bay. Over the course of their lives, the two made many trips to Castine together.

While the phones were ominously still, bidding spiked around the gallery until the picture went to a pleased collector in the gallery with his consultant. The painting descended in the Stevens family until it turned up at Quester Gallery and then went into a New Hampshire collection. A preparatory sketch of the picture is in the collection of the Cape Ann Museum, which is supporting “Fitz Henry Lane Online,” the catalogue raisonné now in preparation.

Another image of hills was “Adirondacks, Lake Lila, New York” by Hudson River School artist Levi Wells Prentice, which came from a longtime Rochester, N.Y., collection and sold on the phone for $32,400.

The Eighteenth Century English maritime picture “The Battle of Trafalgar” by Thomas Buttersworth Sr sold for $33,600, also to the phones.

Estimates meant nothing when it came to several paintings. “View of Amsterdam,” a circa 1688 oil on canvas scene attributed to Dutch artist Jacobus Storck, went to the phones for $36,000 against the estimated $2,5/3,500. The moonlit scene “Night Fishing off a Cape” by Dutch American artist Mauritz Frederik Hendrik de Haas was signed and dated 1873, after he had emigrated to New York. With a $1/1,500 estimate, it sold for $18,000 to the same phone buyer who took the Prentice.

The Eighteenth Century English painting “Wood Cock & Pheasant Shooting” was unsigned but attributed to George Morland. Estimated at $1,2/1,800, it brought $24,000. A Nineteenth Century English oil on artist board “View of Dunkeld Cathedral, Highland Perthshire, Church of Scotland” was unsigned and realized $16,800 against the same estimate.

The Nineteenth or Twentieth Century Italian genre scene “The Bath” by Luigi Morgari of a woman bathing three children as a dog helps out went to the phone for $20,400.

“Two Indians in a Canoe, Forest Interior” by Gilbert Gaul was one of a group of 18 paintings sold to benefit the acquisition fund of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. It realized $16,200.

Early Twentieth Century paintings included the 1914 “Field and Thunderhead” by Maxwell Ashby Armfield, which was monogrammed “MA 14” and realized $13,200.

A pretty Irish landscape by James Humbert Craig, “Gholla Bristha in the Rosses Donegal” sold at the high estimate, $8,400.

The cast iron relief medallion with a bronze-colored patina depicting French artist Jules Bastien-LePage by Augustus Saint-Gaudens brought $15,600 from a phone bidder.

Jane Peterson’s vibrant oil on canvas “Hibiscus” fetched $12,320, thrice the low estimate. “Barbary Figs,” an ink, watercolor and graphite execution of paper by Japanese artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi, was signed and dated 1925 and realized $20,400.

German artist Max Beckmann’s 1945 ink and graphite image of the Pekingese “Butsy” was numbered 36/307 and sold for $18,000. It had been a gift to the artist’s wife and passed through several collections before coming to auction.

Modern and contemporary works were headed by “L’autobus à impériale” by Russian French artist Jean Albert Pougny (Iwan Albertivich Puni) that sold on the phone for $13,200. Another French work was “Les Bateaux,” an oil on canvas scene of marine activity by Marcel Mouillot. Sold to benefit the acquisition fund of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, it realized $10,800. The mixed media (oil and paper) “Calle de Tequisquipan” by Mexican artist Gunther Gerzo was $10,200.

“Noiseless,” a visual algorithm in enamel on aluminum by James Siena, opened at $3,750 and sold on the phone for $12,000.

The sale began at 10 am with 225 print and photography lots. The highlight was Chuck Close’s “Phil I,” the 1982 portrait of the artist’s friend Philip Glass, the 13th of a set of 15 that came from a Massachusetts collection. It brought $60,000.

“The Race,” which is also titled “Homeward Bound,” by Thomas Hart Benton is from the 1942 edition of 250. Depicting a horse in full gallop alongside a speeding train, the print was $15,600. “Haulers,” a striking geometric image from the 1942 edition, was signed and numbered “Sybil Andrews 19/50” and sold for $12,000. Born and trained in England, Andrews moved to British Columbia in Canada in 1947; but it is her experience as an oxyacetylene welder in an aircraft factory in World War I and in the shipyards of Southampton in World War II that informs her work.

“Kleine Welten IV,” a 1922 lithograph by Wassily Kandinsky that was published in Berlin by Propyläen Verlag, was desirable and sold for $15,600.

Keith Haring’s 1989 “Silence Equals Death” was signed and published in an edition of 200 by the Outreach Fund for AIDS. It realized $10,800. Robert Motherwell’s 1989 “Three Figures,” an edition of 80, plus proofs, published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., went online for $11,685.

The Rembrandt van Rijn etching “Beggar in a High Cap, Sanding and Leaning on a Stick” was thought to have been made in the artist’s lifetime, circa 1630. It had been in the collection of Friedrich Kalle of Cologne and Bonn and sold for $14,400. The Rembrandt etching “The Strolling Musicians,” circa 1635, garnered $8,400.

“After the Party” the 1979 color screen print by Andy Warhol, was signed and numbered 626/1000. It realized $10,200.

The highlight of the photography lots across the block was Walker Evans’ 1963 gelatin silver prints of New York City signs, “Lower Manhattan, Painted Sign” and “Example of Sign Painting, East Side Waterfront, New York City.” The two sold for $6,000. Evans’ gelatin silver print from 1967, “Emma, Colorado” brought $4,500. Two 1972 images of New Hampshire interiors, “Living Room, Enfield, New Hampshire” and “Kitchen Detail, Enfield, New Hampshire” sold for $4,200.

While completing his medical training in New York in the 1970s, Boston physician Robert Bunting fell in love with the ballet at a performance of The Nutcracker staged by George Balanchine. He had a good idea and over the years gathered an impressive group of prints and posters, costume designs, set designs, paintings and bronzes, even dance programs that came to market in this sale. Dance collectors and a few dealers with an interest in dance turned out as a group, exchanging news and bidding companionably. Several lots went to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Leon Bakst’s gouache and gold and pencil design for the role of the marchioness in the 1921 production of The Sleeping Beauty was the star of the group when it sold for $66,000 against the estimated $10/15,000. Bakst’s 1912 pencil and gouache design for a costume the ballet pantomime Papillons: Une Dame with music by Robert Schumann, choreographed by Michael Fokine and with sets by Mstislav Dobujinsky and other costumes by Bakst fetched $18,000. The image came through the collection of Lady Eleanor Campbell-Orde of London.

Pavel Tchelitchew’s gouache and ink image “Group of Dancers in a Scene from L’Errante,” the ballet choreographed by Balanchine and for which Tchelitchew created the scenery and costumes, sold for $26,400. The ballet was produced originally in Paris in 1933 and was staged at the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York in 1935. Tchelitchew’s 1938 tempera and graphite design for the set of Saint Francis (Noblissima Visione) brought $13,200, and his 1942 gouache and pencil costume design for the Prince in Violin Concerto realized $6,600.

The gouache and ink image of three costumed figures from La Sacre du Printemps by Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich brought $25,200

A gouache and watercolor poster maquette for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo by Georges de Pogédaïeff realized $20,400.

Andy Warhol’s 1974 color screen print portrait of Merce Cunningham, published by Castelli Graphics and Multiples, Inc, as part of the portfolio “Cunningham I,” comprising the work of seven artists, was sold to benefit the Cunningham dance company. The image realized $13,530.

Two 1911 posters advertising the Ballet Russe at the Théatre de Monte-Carlo by Jean Cocteau  were signed by the poet and artist who was enamored with the ballet company and its star performer, Nijinsky. One depicted Tamara Karsavina in Spectre de la Rose and brought $11,400 and the other, an image of Nijinsky in the same ballet, elicited $10,200.

Two costume designs by Alexandre Nikolaevich Benois for Armide and Rene de Beaugency from the 1909 production La Pavillon d’Armide were signed and inscribed and brought $11,070

All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 508-970-3000.

 

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