Published: November 5, 2002
MANCHESTER, VT. — “It was dirty and untouched — just the way you dream of finding them,” said a jubilant Eric Nathan in reference to a rare Rockwell Kent oil on canvas that he sold this past Sunday, November 3, during his Estates and Fine Art Auction. The rare painting had been consigned from a Putney home, where it had hung on the wall ever since the artist gave it to the family more than 50 years ago.
Painted from a vista in Artlington, Vt., nearby a farm where Kent lived in the 1920s, the Southern Vermont Winter landscape view at sunset was looking south, down the valley to Mt Anthony in Bennington, and Mt Greylock in Massachusetts.
The painting had an interesting history according to Nathan, who stated that he received a letter from acknowledged Rockwell Kent scholar and author Scott R. Ferris stating that the painting had been executed in 1921, although Kent had reworked the painting between 1937 and 1941. “There was a deer in the foreground that he removed,” stated Nathan, “It was an attempt by Kent to focus on the light and spiritual quality.” Ferris reportedly called Kent’s efforts to refocus the eye toward the key elements a “triumph in direction and decisionmaking.” Nathan commented that a ghost of the deer could be seen when the painting was viewed under blacklight.
Bidding on the lot opened to the floor at $30,000, with crossing absentee bids. Four phone bidders and several in the gallery bid actively on the painting with it eventually selling to a telephone bidder at $99,000, including premium.
A complete review of the auction will appear in a future issue.
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