Published: May 29, 2007
Six months of planning and work paid off when Shannon’s twice-a-year auction of fine American and European paintings, drawings and sculpture on April 26, 2007, achieved $3.6 million.
Auctioneer Gene Shannon was “pleased as punch” with the stellar results, noting, “We didn’t have a lot of big numbers but the $20/80,000 range was very rich and rewarding.”
The event saw 20 new world records set for auction prices and had a strong contingent of American paintings that led the sale, assisted by a handful of European standouts. “A lot of the buying is helped by the buoyancy of the euro, and the Italian market is pretty hot,” Shannon said. “Most European paintings we sell almost always get repatriated back to their native countries.”
Another trend Shannon noticed with this sale was that many paintings were consigned to help pay for medical or home care for a family member, whereas in the past, those paintings would likely come from the estate, consigned by heirs.
Internet bidding was heavy in the sale for the company, which usually sells two-thirds to the phone and only a few lots online. This time, there were 14 lots that sold online.
Bidders came from 41 states and ten countries and consignments were from estates both nearby in Connecticut and the tri-state area, and from as far as Florida and California.
The top lot of the sale was an oil painting by Charles Courtney Curran (American, 1861‱942), “Far Away Thoughts,” that enticed heavy bidding with three determined bidders in the action right up until the end, when one took it home for $136,800. Shannon could not give out the name of the successful bidder, but did say it went to a dealer.
From the same New Jersey collection came another Curran painting, “May Breeze,” an oil on Masonite that fetched $48,000 from the same buyer. Interestingly, another painting titled “Far Away Thoughts” showing an equally pensive young woman, by John George Brown, dated 1877, had fetched $38,400 minutes earlier.
The sale started off with a sign of things to come when the first lot, “Evening Glow, Palm Springs,” by Anna A. Hills, soared above its $3/5,000 estimate to bring $14,400.
Leading Cape Ann School/Rockport/Gloucester offerings was an oil on panel board by Frederick John Mulhaupt (1871‱938), “Harbor Life” ($8/12,000) that was once exhibited at the Salmagundi Club in New York City, and jumped to $38,400.
Mulhaupt is the “king” of the Cape Ann School and his works are scarce, Shannon said. After the sale, Shannon received a consignment of another Mulhaupt work, even larger than the example in this sale, which he expects to perform well in the October auction.
The second-highest selling painting in the sale was also from an American artist. Mauritz F.H. DeHaas was born in Holland, emigrated here at age 27, and became renowned for his works depicting the Northeast coast. His painting, “Sunset on the Coast,” brought $78,000 and set a new record.
A pair of Eric Sloane paintings also set a new record when they each fetched $60,000. The oils on Masonite, “Hill Farm” and “Autumn, Vermont,” from the artist who once lived in Connecticut, crossed the block early on.
European paintings, while numbering fewer than American offerings, achieved robust prices, including three Italian standouts led by “The Oriental Dancers” by Fabio Fabbi (1861‱946), which realized $60,000. Eugenio Zampighi’s “A Family Gathering” brought $52,800 while Antonio Zoppi’s “Amusing the Baby” sold for $40,800, establishing a new record.
Not all European paintings in the sale had ties to Italy. France was well represented, with one of its own, Edouard L. Cortes, whose “A Parisian Street Scene,” realized $43,200.
In a departure from the snowbound New York City views for which he is known, Guy Wiggins’s “Easterly Winds,” Gloucester, struck a chord with bidders, fetching $60,000. Bringing the same money was an oil on Masonite, “Evening in Aquetong,” by Harry Leith-Ross, who was also represented in the sale with “Quarry Cove,” which fetched $22,800.
Midrange standouts included Dwight William Tryon’s “Moonlight Over the Sea,” which sold just over high estimate at $57,600; Dale Nichols’s “Through the Clouds,” at $55,200; Louis L. Betts’ “A Garden Party” at $52,800, which set a new record; George Curtis’s “Full Sail, Boston Harbor,” at $52,800; and John Williamson’s “Morning, Highlands of the Hudson” brought $50,400. Edmund Greacen’s “The Farm, Giverny, 1907” and Anthony Thieme’s “Italian Wharf, Gloucester” each fetched $48,000.
American Modern highlights included Werner Drewes, who had two works in the auction that brought $43,200 and $36,000, as well as living artist Robert Vickrey’s work at $28,800.
A lone sculpture offering, George Edwin Bissell’s bust of Abraham Lincoln, attained $14,400 late in the sale.
Watercolors were led by Swiss painter Carlo Bossoli’s “A View of Seville,” a watercolor and gouache, which sold for $19,200. Other standouts included Walter Launt Palmer’s watercolor and gouache, “A Stream in Winter,” at $13,200, and Walt Kuhn’s “Head of Beryl,” a watercolor on board, that also took $13,200.
All prices reported include the 20 percent buyer’s premium. For information, www.shannonsauction.com or 203-877-1711.
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