Published: November 22, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
THOMASTON, MAINE – An unsigned portrait of George Washington, with Sadik attribution to Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755-1828) led a $1.34 million Autumn Majestic sale at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, a three-day event running November 11-13. The classic bust portrait, oil on canvas, which sold for $40,800 against a $2/3,000 estimate, was offered with a 2010 letter verso from Marvin Sadik, the former director of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, stating the portrait is by Stuart, who did in fact do many versions. In period lemon gold mitered frame with gesso edging, the painting measured 34½ by 29½ inches.
Fittingly as an American painter, illustrator and author best known for her colorful and raucous paintings featuring animals, Dahlov Ipcar (1917-2017) was in the catbird seat of this sale, with several of her paintings bringing notable results. “Black Zebra,” an oil on Belgian linen depicting a zebra under attack by a lioness in a stylized forest setting, was bid to $24,000. It was signed and dated 1993 lower right, also with the artist’s gallery label affixed to the back of the wooden floating frame, 25¼ by 41½ inches. Encouraged by her artist parents, William and Marguerite Zorach, Ipcar started painting at a very young age. While her art in the 1940s and 1950s was of the prevailing Social Realism style, by the 1960s and 1970s, paintings began taking a new direction featuring intricate patterns and geometric designs.
Ipcar’s “Raintree – Amazon,” an oil on linen painting depicting an anteater, toucan and ocelot amid South American tropical greenery realized $20,400. Also presented in a wooden floating frame, 39½ by 21½ inches, the work was signed and dated 1996 lower right, with the artist’s gallery label affixed to the back.
“Malaysian Jungle” was another Ipcar highlight, bringing $18,750. The oil on linen picture depicted a tiger, leopard, marbled cats, peacock and a variety of other animals in an Asian tropical forest setting. It was signed and dated 2004 lower left, with the artist’s original gallery labels affixed verso and presented in a wooden floating frame, 27¼ by 37¼ inches.
Cuban artist Rene Portocarrero (1912-2017) was represented in the sale by “Interior del Cerro,” a richly wrought interior scene, thick with impasto oil on canvas, signed lower right and dated 1949. Selling for $23,750, it was presented in a carved gilt frame with black liner, 39 by 34 inches, and included with the lot were export certificates dated 1970 from the Museo Nacional of Havana and a certificate of authenticity from Carlos Martinez Luis of Miami, Fla., an art curator and historian, dated 2000.
Examined and authenticated years ago by several Bill Traylor (1854-1947) experts, and folk art experts employed by a notable museum in Massachusetts, was a 78 rpm record sleeve, circa 1930s-40s, that the famed Outsider artist had decorated with an ink drawing of men in top hats carrying canes, a running dog, a bird crowing and two birds on stands. In a black box frame, 11½ by 11¾ inches, the drawing went out at $18,000. This is the last piece from a collection that was sold by a notable Boston area auction house.
There were more noteworthy results in the fine art category. An Andrew John Henry Way (1826-1888) oil on canvas still life of grapes jumped its $2/3,000 estimate and garnered $16,250. It was signed lower left, dated 1877, with a stencil verso from Wm. Minifie & Sons Draughtsman’s Depot and Artist’s Supply Store, No. 5 North Charles Street, Baltimore (active 1876-1880) and presented in a period carved Gothic red walnut entablature bearing the artist’s name.
American Impressionist John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902) also outperformed with his “Winter Pond” oil on canvas surpassing its $5/7,000 estimate to bring $15,000. It was signed lower right, with two labels from Berry Hill Gallery, East 70th Street, New York City, giving the title and indicating this was in the gallery’s exhibition “American Artists 1880-1925,” February-April 1995. Housed in the original Newcomb-Macklin frame, it measured 18 by 23 inches.
Sculpture highlights were led by Alexander Phimister Proctor’s (1862-1950) rare large version of the “Princeton Tiger.” The 10-inch-high bronze sculpture of a tiger in a recumbent pose took $20,400. It was signed and titled at base edge, cast by Gorham Founders Company.
American sculptor Bessie Onahotema Potter (Keyes) Vonnoh (1872-1955), best known for her small bronzes, mostly of domestic scenes and for her garden fountains, was represented by “Dancing Girl, the bronze sculpture signed “Bessie Potter, copyright 33” on the base platform, 13¾ inches high, which earned $11,250.
Buddhist statues are generally beatific in countenance, but a late Seventeenth Century statue of Gandhara, displayed the traits of a student, with legs splayed to one side, hair uncut with a pugnacious expression. The statue was in the style of Buddhist visual art that flourished in the trading and pilgrimage center of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India. Sand cast bronze in remnants of red lacquer, it measured 9¼ by 8½ inches by 5 inches and came with a with custom wooden stand. It bettered its $3/4,000 to claim $11,250.
Sunday’s furniture offerings included a selection of Midcentury Modern Danish pieces, including a Hans Wegner (1914-1947) “Papa Bear” chair and ottoman, which doubled its high estimate to bring $18,750. The two-piece upholstered chair and footstool, circa 1960, was designed by Wegner and sold by Anton Dam (Copenhagen), in teak and oak, including Wing Chair No. 19, with button tufted back, self-cording, foam rubber filled cushion and splayed legs. Its matching footstool No. 29 had side handles and splayed tapered legs.
Among decorative arts, a pair of Chinese silk elbow cushions surprised. They had an $800-$1,200 valuation, but bidding took them to $16,800. The Qing dynasty (Nineteenth Century) cushions featured a yellow woven satin ground with silk and gilded thread embroidery, each side decorated with dragons, peaches and clouds with blue diapering. They measured 8¼ inches square.
A vintage eider hen decoy also raised some eyebrows, going from a $1/1,500 expectation to a final price of $16,250. The carved and painted preening hen featured a back-slotted turned head, with carved eyes, beak features and wings, brown painted surface. The 9½-inch-high decoy had a horseshoe weight affixed to its base and carved “BM” monogram.
A bidder drove away with a one-owner estate 2000 Volvo C70 two-door convertible for $12,000. With 30,209 miles, a blue metallic exterior and beige leather interior, it had a 2.4L DOHC 20-valve five-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission and other auto upgrades.
And not to ignore bling, the sale posted $11,250 for a 14K gold, ruby and diamond line bracelet, 7½ inches long and set with 21 carats of rubies and 2.44 carats of diamonds.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.thomastonauction.com or 207-354-8141.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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