Published: July 13, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Winter Associates
PLAINVILLE, CONN. – On June 28, Winter Associates launched a 239-lot specialized sale of prints and drawings dating as far back as the Fifteenth Century and on up to present day.
Auctioneer Linda Stamm recalled dedicated print sales in the company’s early days. “We held entire print sales many years ago, perhaps 30 years ago,” she said. “And this year we had a group of colleagues willing to work with us to organize this one. I believe we had a truly handsome assortment of prints to offer, and some very strong prices realized.”
It was the oldest prints that did best.
An etching featuring a coat of arms by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) would sell for $14,760. The circa 1500-03 work featured a cock gripping a knight’s helmet in its talons, a lion depicted on the shield beneath and flourishing foliate spreading like sea splash around it. The work had been illustrated in Adam von Bartsch’s 1981 title, Sixteenth Century German Artists: Albrecht Dürer as well as in Meder and Strauss.
Earlier still, circa 1480, was a 3-by-1-15/16-inch engraving of St Thomas by Martin Schongauer (1435-1491) that sold for $9,840. A note to the back said it was once from the collection of Nineteenth Century art collector Antonie Brentano-Birckenstock, daughter of Johann Melchior Edler von Birkenstock, whose sizable art collection she inherited. Antonie made acquaintance with both Goethe and Beethoven, the latter who became a close friend and dedicated Diabelli Variations to her. One writer of the time wrote that Brentano-Birckenstock had over 2,000 engravings and as many drawings. They were sold a year after her death in 1870 – engravings from the collection are in the British Museum and the National Gallery of Art.
Rising well above its $1,500 high estimate to $7,380 was Harry Roskolenko’s Paris Poems with lithographs by Zao Wou-ki (China/France, 1921-2013). With complete text and six lithographs, two of them in color, the auction house said the circa 1950 work is rarely found intact.
“Mom Lydia,” a 1930 etching by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner (1883-1979) sold for $2,829. Considered the patron artist of the Charleston Renaissance in South Carolina, Verner turned to art when her husband died and she needed to support her family. She turned to commercial and tourist art to create an oeuvre of Charleston life that was agreeable and marketable to many.
Though he was married to Margaret Dunlop for more than 30 years, British artist Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) produced five children, none with her. Among those children was Jackie, whom Epstein fathered with painter Isabel Nicholas, a muse to Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon. Epstein produced a number of drawing portraits of Jackie in preparation for a sculpture. He wrote, “My drawings of Jackie present a period of my life and mark out, through drawings, a plastic expression I am proud of. To have captured the fugitive and endless expressions and changes of movement of a child has been a rare experience.” A black crayon and charcoal drawing on dark cream paper, circa 1937-38, featuring Jackie at a table with a plain lace collar shirt, went out at $2,337.
“We will continue to offer prints as strong segments of future auctions, in with the eclectic mix of items we typically offer from estates,” Stamm said. “Already in inventory are works by David Hockney, Wolf Kahn, Lee Krasner, Kathe Kollwitz and John Sloan.”
All prices include buyer’s premium. Winter Associates is at 21 Cooke Street. For information, www.auctionappraisers.com or 860-793-0288.
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