Published: July 25, 2006
A folk portrait attributed to Sheldon Peck, an itinerant, self-taught portrait painter of the mid-Nineteenth Century, was the top lot at Duane Merrill’s July 22 auction, selling for $220,000, including the firm’s ten percent buyer’s premium. Boston-based dealer Stephen Score won the painting following a lengthy duel with another phone bidder and much interest among major Americana dealers.
The Nineteenth Century oil on board depicts a gentleman in a chair, probably a member of the consignor’s family, according to Linus Leavens at Duane Merrill & Company.
“The painting came from a family in New York,” said Leavens. “It was discovered when a framed Civil War roster fell off the wall and broke, revealing the painting that had been used as a backboard.” This was not unusual, said Leaven, because many of Peck’s portraits were brushed onto wood panels. “The family made inquiries and found us because we had sold a Sheldon Peck earlier this year.” In February, Merrill sold a folk portrait of a young girl attributed to Peck for $84,700.
The portrait of the gentleman was in “absolute untouched” condition, according to Leaven. “There was still a little bit of the roster stuck to the painting, but we didn’t touch it.”
For information, 802-878-2625 or www.merrillsauction.com.
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