Published: February 26, 2008
Art ruled the day at Ron Bourgeault’s February Weekend Auction this past Friday through Sunday, February 22′4, or perhaps better put, art ruled all three days of the popular Northeast Auctions event. Shocking the crowd on the first day of the sale was a mid-Nineteenth Century portrait of George Washington by Jane Stuart, after her father Gilbert Stuart.
Exceptionally well done, the painting had once resided in the collections of the Denver Art Museum and it had passed through Christie’s in 1995 selling at $2,760. A sleeper among numerous Washington items offered, the unassuming lot opened at $5,000 and was hammered down moments later to a telephone bidder for $194,000, a record price for the artist. The previous record price paid for a Jane Stuart painting was $8,000, according to sources at Northeast.
A second Washington portrait by Jane Stuart sold at $49,140, while a Rembrandt Peale portrait of Martha Washington realized $67,860.
Day two of the auction saw a Thomas Prichard Rossiter oil on canvas, “Liberty Freeing the Shackles of Slavery,” handily exceeding estimates as it sold to a buyer in the room for $90,675, while a large William Lester Stevens Rockport farmhouse scene went out at $28,080.
It was the third and final day of the auction, however, that provided the most excitement. Topping the auction was a pair of John Singleton Copley pastel portraits of Mr and Mrs Joseph Greene from 1767 that realized more than double their presale estimates when they hammered down at $326,000.
Copley’s bust-length portrait of Daniel Henchman sold at $236,000, a portrait of George Washington in uniform by James Sharples quadrupled estimates at $141,200, and a Henry Benbridge portrait of an unknown gentleman in his library brought $63,180.
Furniture included a wonderful inlaid mahogany Federal four-drawer chest with exquisite rectangular and central oval veneered panels on each of the drawers. Attributed to Saco, Maine, cabinetmakers Cumston and Buckminster, the chest sold well above the $30/50,000 estimates at $199,500. Numerous pieces of furniture originally purchased from Israel Sack Inc in the 1960s were sold, with a Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany reverse serpentine four drawer chest leading the way at $150,000.
Prices include the buyer’s premium charged. A complete review will appear in a future issue.
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