Published: September 8, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Mathesons’ Gallery
MELBOURNE, FLA. – Before 2020, Jan and Lloyd Matheson of Mathesons’ Gallery had a handful of auctions under their belt, but the pandemic quickened their pace as the firm launched its August 30 sale of fine paintings and works on paper, the gallery’s third sale since May.
Owner Jan Matheson said, “Most of the paintings were from my personal collection. Because we haven’t had shows to sell at due to Covid, the auctions are a good way to sell.”
Matheson related that 47 of the 115 lots on offer found new homes. She said those that sold were the better and more recognizable names.
The sale was led by a 13-by-16¼-inch oil on canvas harbor scene by Abel Warshawsky (1883-1962) that sold for $8,050. After studying at the Cleveland School of Art, the Impressionist artist moved to New York City to study at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design. He then moved to Paris for 30 years before returning stateside and settling in California.
“The heavy impasto was amazing,” Matheson said of the work. The buyer related that they appreciated it because it was a French scene.
Coming in at $8,050 was an oil on board portrait of a woman by Angel Botello (1913-1986), 15½ by 13 inches. The woman glances to the side, her cheeks rouged, all on a dark green background. The painting came in an artist-produced frame that expanded the scope of the image outward. The wear to the wooden frame matched the color of the subject’s skin, a dash of red matched her rouge cheeks, and the inner frame matched the color of the image’s background. Matheson had purchased it about 15 years ago from a dealer who bought it out of a New York City apartment. She said the buyer was a relative of the artist.
Twenty-two bids were logged on an oil on board beach scene by Spanish artist Agustín Salinas y Teruel (1861-1928) until it sold for $3,738 to a Spanish buyer. The work was quite small, measuring 4½ by 7 inches sight, but featured plenty of action with a family seen in the foreground, colorful tents and two sailboats on the water in back. The artist studied in Spain before moving to Rome with his brother, Juan Pablo Salinas y Teruel, also an artist.
“I have had that one for 25 years,” Matheson said. “I bought it out of a Coral Gables estate when I was just learning. I loved it.”
As Americans turn to the television set to watch this year’s baseball season, American artist Robert Lebron’s (1928-2013) scenes of the stadiums of yore capture a sense of the same nostalgia for going to the park and watching a game. Two scenes were found in the sale and both brought the same $575 result. One painting features two small boys looking up at the façade of Wrigley Field, the smaller with a bat in his hand and the slightly older boy with a glove in his. The other features a scene outside of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the home of the Dodgers. It was demolished in 1960.
Matheson owns a large selection of works by Lebron, having purchased them from his wife. She does not have many other sports scenes, she said, and likens his work to cityscape painters Guy Wiggins or Édouard Cortès.
“I thought the Lebrons sold modestly,” Matheson said. “He’s way undervalued. I think this artist is someone collectors should be grabbing right now, it’s just amazing work.”
Catching $2,070 was a WPA painting in the manner of William Gropper, featuring a team of African Americans chipping away at the earth with tools in an arid landscape. When she cataloged and photographed the lot, Matheson did not notice the pencil inscription on the back that said “W.H. Gropper 1931,” which only revealed itself to the auctioneer as she tilted it slightly in passing to the shipper. Still, she said, it was a great painting and she was glad the attribution seemed correct. The oil painting on board measured 23¾ by 18 inches.
Matheson said the gallery will take part in a few shows in the coming months and will likely have another auction in November. For information, 321-768-6668 or www.mathesonsgallery.com.
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