Published: October 12, 2010
Christie’s sale of important American furniture, folk art and prints, with property from the estate of Alastair Bradley Martin, including works from the Guennol Collection, got underway shortly after 10 am on Wednesday, September 29, with John Hays, deputy chairman, doing the selling. One hundred fifty-six lots later, 79 percent sold by lot and 91 percent sold by dollar, the sale had brought in $4,748,887. All prices include the buyer’s premium.
One of the lots, pictured in the October 8 issue of Antiques and The Arts Weekly, was a Chippendale carved mahogany easy chair, Philadelphia, circa 1770, that was the star of the sale, fetching $1,022,500. Also pictured was a carved and painted spread-winged eagle, 33½ inches wide, by Wilhelm Schimmel, circa 1870, that sold for $314,500.
Other highlights in the sale, in addition to those pictured with this review, include lot 1, a black-breasted plover by Elmer Crowell, circa 1930, that went for $16,250; a carved and painted huntsman, Pennsylvania, circa 1860, a figure with a gun in one hand, a bird in the other, and his dog at his feet, that sold for $62,500, just over the $60,000 high estimate; and a carved wooden figure of a whale and whalers in a boat, Nineteenth/Twentieth Century, 77½ inches long, that sold within estimate at $32,500. That piece of sculpture, lot 38, listed the illustrator, the late Robert Hallock of Newtown, Conn., in the provenance.
The Charles Peale Polk (American, 1767‱822) portrait of George Washington at Princeton, oil on canvas measuring 33½ by 28½ inches, the verso of canvas inscribed “No. 33. Cs. Polk/Painter,” at first was passed when the hammer fell at $240,000. A bid had been missed, however, and the lot was re-opened and bidding went to $240,000. It sold for that hammer bid, $290,500 with the buyer’s premium, against an estimate of $300/500,000.
Lot 80, another portrait of George Washington, this time on horseback, after John Trumbull, oil on board, 217/8 by 181/8 inches, sold over the high estimate of $10,000 at $13,750. Five lots later, the portrait of DeWitt Clinton by Rembrandt Peale, oil on canvas, 285/8 by 233/8 inches, painted circa 1823, went over the high estimate of $25,000, selling for $40,000 to a gentleman in the audience who apparently came only for the painting as he left the room about as the hammer fell.
The highest selling print at the end of the sale was the “Common American Swan,” after John James Audubon by Robert Havell, an engraving with etching, aquatint and hand-coloring, circa 1838, 26½ by 383/8 inches sight, that sold for $47,500, just over the low estimate of $40,000.
Prior to the sale, John Hays announced a good number of lots from which the reserve had been removed. After the auction, he commented, “Surface flew; we tried to hold this sale to surface, which is the watchword for Americana. This sale proved it.”
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