Published: November 5, 2019
Review by Anne Kugielsky, Photos Courtesy DuMouchelles Art Gallery
DETROIT – Artwork by Maurice Brazil Prendergast, John Russell and Marshall Fredericks joined a Tiffany Studios chandelier filling most of the top ten spots at DuMouchelles’ October 18-20 auction.
Leading the three-day event was Maurice Prendergast’s “Beach at Cape Ann,” an oil and pencil on paper by the Canadian American artist who was born in 1858. Known for his delicate, mosaic-like style, Prendergast’s Post-Impressionist Naïve art was in contrast to the other artists in the group known as The Eight, with whom he was associated. His circa 1907-10 “Beach at Cape Ann,” 10-3/8 by 13½ inches, realized $179,800. A Detroit Institute of Arts Friends of Modern Art label on verso titles the work “Promenade,” and it was exhibited at the institute in 1969.
An earlier work, circa 1893-94, by Prendergast reached $86,800, making it the third highest lot of the day. A watercolor and pencil on paper, the 11¼-by-5-inch framed painting is titled, “Figure of a Woman; Woman with Parasol.”
Sandwiched in between the two Prendergast paintings, taking the number two top spot, was a remarkable Tiffany Studios bronze and leaded glass Moorish-style chandelier that more than tripled its high $50,000 estimate when it sold at $165,100. The circa 1910 chandelier was acquired by the consignor’s family when the Horace Dodge (of car company fame) house, Rose Terrace I, was demolished in 1930. Designed by Albert Kahn and completed circa 1910, the house had many furnishings and at least one fireplace purchased from Tiffany and Co., Rose Terrace II was built by Anna Thomson Dodge after the original house was torn down.
Marshall Maynard Fredericks (1908-1998) was an American sculptor and DuMouchelles offered three works by the highly lauded artist, all from the Booth Family Estate, Cranbrook, Mich.
Many of his works have spiritual intensity, lighthearted humor and a warm and gentle humanist spirit like that found in Fredericks himself, it says in his biography. The works offered here included his bronze sculpture, “The Thinker,” which sold at $74,400 for the 26-inch-high humorous sculpture of a large ape in a squatting pose with arms wrapped around its body.
Fredericks was the recipient of many American and foreign awards and decorations for his artistic and humanitarian achievements. He exhibited his work nationally and internationally and many of his works are in national, civic and private collections. In 1957, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1961.
Fredericks’ “Freedom of the Human Spirit” bronze sculpture, 24½ inches high ($18,600), is a smaller version of the 84-inch sculpture of the same name he created in 1964 for the World’s Fair. This sculpture was moved in 1996 to the plaza adjacent to Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
Selling at $24,800, Fredericks’ bronze “Two Bears” sculpture, 17½ by 8 by 11 inches, sold within estimate.
While the three-day auction included silver, fine and decorative arts and estate items, it was artwork that stole the top lots. A pastel on paper by English artist John Russel, R.A. (1745-1806) was among the highest priced lots when it sold at $9,920, more than double its high estimate. The pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 1767, shows a child holding a biscuit she’s eating while her dog gazes at it longingly, accounting for the title, “Eying Her Biscuit.”
Two other lots each reached $16,120; one, also by John Russell, and a pastel on paper, is “A portrait of a child,” showing a young girl holding a dog, which is unsigned but with a nameplate that reads: “John Russell R.A. 1745-1802.” Also reaching the same final price was an oil on paper on Masonite by Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830-1902), a mountain landscape with a canoeist in a river, 12½ by 10 inches, selling within estimate.
Exceeding its $5/10,000 estimate, a bronze sculpture by German artist Bernhard Heilier (1915-1995) titled “Fahrmann II (Ferryman)” sold at $14,880. Mounted on a base, a 38½-inch-high-by-34-inch-long sculpture shows an abstract figure balancing poised to cross a river of bronze.
Topping day two of the sale was a bronze sculpture by Emmanuel Fremiet (French, 1824-1910), of Joan of Arc riding with armor and a banner on horseback. The 28¾-inch-high sculpture trotted to the block with an estimate of $1,5/2,500 but over 20 bids sent it to the final price of $5,890.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For further information, 313-963-6255 or www.dumoart.com.
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