Published: June 27, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett; Images Courtesy of Capsule
NEW YORK CITY — Capsule’s American and European Art sale on June 15 was a showcase of fine art from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, highlighting names that have endured in popular culture and some that have not been so well remembered. These were brought back to light in the 141-lot auction, which produced a $114,000 total and a sell-through rate of 80 percent. Capsule reported “a healthy mix” of American and international high bidders.
The creator of the sale’s foremost lot would have been familiar to those with even a passing interest in Western art, a lithograph signed in pencil by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919). Titled “Pinning the Hat,” another example of this work exists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Renoir only began making lithographs in the 1890s, when he was already established as a successful painter and the commercial medium was starting to be used more broadly. Dealers, like Renoir’s, encouraged the artists they represented to use this technique for creating multiple works using high-quality materials, which were a less expensive alternative for collectors with limited budgets. Renoir produced this subject in multiple mediums, using Berthe Morisot’s daughter and her cousin as models, and this printing achieved $18,750.
Classical subjects were popular with bidders, including the second-highest price of the day for an untitled drapery study by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (Hungarian, 1860-1933) that was bid to $6,000 from the estate of David Schorr. Renowned during his lifetime for his monumental paintings of ancient historical and mythological subjects, Hirémy-Hirschl has been eclipsed due to the lack of his major works surviving into contemporary times and the rise of the Vienna Secessionists, with whom he was a contemporary. Many of his studies and smaller works were retained by descendants until the 1980s, when some were released into the secondary market.
Two paintings from the estate of the late American artist Vincent Arcilesi (1932-2022) continued this theme, especially “The Parthenon” at $4,250, painted in 2014. Arcilesi was a prolific postwar artist whose work celebrated the human figure and the landscape, and whose exhibition history began in 1966. The next work of his to sell was from an earlier stage in his career, “Old Oak at North Tisbury,” created in 1972, which sold for $2,625. Achieving the same price was the classically inspired but more symbolist etching “Pornokrates” by Félicien Rops (Belgian, 1833-1898), another artist known mostly by his peers but understudied by today’s public.
Landscapes of varied types and in different media also did well. Third place in the auction was occupied by a group lot of three oil on paper waterscapes attributed to Louis Eilshemius (American, 1864-1941) that was bid to $5,000. The circular paintings were titled “Mountain Lake at Night,” “Blue Water” and “Mountain Stream,” all measuring only 5½ inches in diameter, and were consigned from the estate of Mason Adams. Another marine-themed, untitled painting from the Piel collection by contemporary Croatian artist Frane Mlinar (b 1959) sold within its $2/4,000 estimate at $3,375. According to Mlinar’s biography from the Wentworth Gallery, which represents him, his work “strives to impart to the world a much calmer view of his native land.”
Urban landscapes were also included. John Bachmann’s 1879 “View of New York” lithograph from a private Brooklyn, N.Y., collection achieved $2,000. Bachmann was a Swiss-born lithographic artist who is mostly known for his New York City bird’s-eye views, but also traveled as a journeyman artist in Europe. An untitled nighttime scene of Times Square in New York City by Edmund E. Niemann (American, 1909-2005) sold from the artist’s estate for $1,875. This was preceded in price by another of Niemann’s paintings, “Walking in the Rain,” that achieved $2,500.
The only female artist in the top lots was Clara Klinghoffer (British, 1900-1970) with two portraits that were sold from her estate. Klinghoffer was born to Polish-Jewish parents in what was then part of Austria Hungary and emigrated to England as a baby, later moving to the United States during World War II. Both three-quarter portraits of women, the lots showed inspiration from art of the Dutch Golden Age and multiplied their estimates. The first in the upper lots was an early portrait of Ans Bouter in Haarlem, Holland, for $3,750, followed by Marissa Traina of New York, painted two decades later and selling for $1,750.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Capsule’s Prints and Photography auction will be on September 7. For information, www.capsuleauctions.com or 212-353-2277.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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