Published: June 20, 2023
Review By Madelia Hickman Ring; Photos Courtesy Heritage Auctions
DALLAS — Heritage Auctions’ June 9 Fine European Art Signature auction offered a boutique selection of just 83 lots, with 77 trading successfully and earning a cool $1,641,312 at press time. Bidders looking for works by unknown artists would have been disappointed as all of the sale’s top lots were by blue-chip artists whose pieces usually command top dollars whenever and wherever they come to market.
The top lot of the day at $325,000 was “Bergère (Shepherdess)” by William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905). Included in several publications and monographs on the artist, the painting was noteworthy because its provenance included two “Museum Makers.” The first to own it was coal and shipping magnate, John Joseph Albright (1848-1931), Buffalo, N.Y., who acquired it in 1888 and whose collection would form the basis for the Albright-Knox Gallery. In 1953, the painting passed into the Fort Worth, Texas, collection of Mr Amon G. Carter Sr (1879-1955), owner of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Upon his death, Carter’s will dictated that part of his fortune establish the Amon Carter Museum. “Bergère (Shepherdess)” had remained in the Carter family’s collection until its offering at Heritage.
Pulling to a second-place finish with a price of $262,500 was “Deauville: le retour des régattes,” which had been painted in 1934 by Raoul Dufy (French, 1877-1953). Unusually, despite the painting having been with a private collector and two dealers, it retained its original invoice from Etienne Bignou, signed by him and dated “November 23, 1935.”
Rounding out the leaderboard and earning $112,500 in the process was “Femme au peplum rouge, tête, bras” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919), an oil on canvas that had previously been auctioned in a Sotheby’s London sale in 2006, when it sold for $192,910. According to Heritage’s catalog, the work will be included in the forthcoming Pierre-Auguste Renoir digital catalogue raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute.
Vietnamese artists working in Paris saw significant interest, enough to push at least two examples beyond pre-sale expectations. This can be seen in Le Pho’s (French/Vietnamese, 1907-2001) “Le vase noir,” a bright and cheerful oil on canvas still life that was painting during the artist’s “Findlay period” and blossomed to $106,250, more than twice its low estimate. Achieving nearly twice its high estimate was Vu Cao Dam’s (Vietnamese, 1908-2000) terracotta “Tête,” an 8¾-inch-tall bust that earned $57,500.
Northern European artists were well represented as well. Leading the selection of works from several Dutch artists was Ferdinand Bol’s (Dutch, 1616-1680) portrait of an old woman, circa 1640s, which ascended to $60,000, more than twice its high estimate. Accompanied by an extensive provenance given its age, the painting was once thought to have been painted by Bol’s teacher, Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669) but Heritage noted the attribution to Bol was confirmed through careful examination of and by the consensus of three preeminent scholars of Dutch painting.
A portrait of a young girl holding a fan, attributed to Paulus Hennekyn (Dutch, 1611-1672), circa 1650, was described in the auction catalog as “an important addition to Hennekyn’s oeuvre as the only portrait of a child by the artist that has been identified to date.” Estimated at $12/18,000, the portrait soared to $30,000 and what may be a new world auction record for the artist, exceeding every other sale listed on www.askart.com.
Heritage Auctions’ next sale of European Fine Art is presently scheduled for December 7.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, 214-528-3500 or www.ha.com.
October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023
October 3, 2023
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm