Published: February 14, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Images Courtesy Collector Fine Art Auctions
WARWICK, N.Y. – Collector Fine Art Auctions hosted more than 100 objects during its Fine European/American Paintings & Furniture auction on February 4, featuring lots from estates in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., and 150 Central Park South, New York City. Works of art from noted early modern to contemporary artists were featured, including illuminated manuscript pages, neoclassical decorative arts and abstract sculpture, to name a few categories. Bidders from Germany, Armenia, London, Paris, Dubai and the United States registered for this sale, and the auction total was $6,677,083.
The biggest surprise of the sale, although perhaps not a complete shock, was a portrait of Margaretha de Geer by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669) and his workshop that sold for $2.7 million against its $80/120,000 estimate. De Geer’s husband was Jacob Trip, and together they formed one of Holland’s wealthiest families. This painting was likely a pendant to Trip’s portrait, commissioned by their sons to decorate the palatial “Trippenhuis” mansion that the family built in 1660-62 on Amsterdam’s Grand Canal. Rembrandt painted the couple multiple times. This portrait was consigned from a Tuxedo Park estate and will be returning home to Amsterdam.
“Storm Over the Black Sea” by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) prompted a squall during the post-sale proceedings. The painting was sold at Sotheby’s London in 2015, then shown at St Petersburg’s Tretyakov Museum and featured on the front cover of this exhibition’s catalog in 2016. Authenticated in person by Tretyakov curator V. Petrov, “Storm” is also listed in Aivazovsky’s catalogue raisonné by Ivan Samarine and Gianni Caffiero, “Light, Water and Sky” (2013). Originally selling to an enterprise registered in Dubai, it came to light that this entity is owned by “a Russian oligarch [who] purchased the art to evade sanctions!” Collector Fine Art Auctions has a strict due diligence policy to comply fully with the law and to ensure that no individual or institution targeted by sanctions be able to do business directly or indirectly through their salesroom, and cancelled the transaction for the sale price of $887,500. The auction house intends to reinstate the painting in a private sale.
Next in the sale was “La Belle Fille” by William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905), showing one of the demure yet secretive young girls that are a hallmark of his work. The painting is one of 23 that the artist produced in 1879, and will be included in the Art Renewal Center’s upcoming third volume of Bouguereau’s catalogue raisonné. Known for his academic nudes, this young girl shows Bouguereau’s virtuosity in depicting the contrast between flesh and woven textiles. Authenticated by expert art historian Fred Ross, the painting achieved $599,000 after a tussle between nine phone bidders.
An American impressionist “Nude Pulling on a Stocking” by William Glackens (American, 1870-1938) came in third place at its high estimate at $250,000 ($150/250,000), selling to a phone bidder. Glackens began his career as an “artist-reporter” in Philadelphia, then studied with Thomas Anschutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He later worked in Europe as an agent for Dr Albert C. Barnes, was a chairman of the selection committee for American entries of the Armory Show, and in 1917 was elected the first president of the Society of Independent Artists. This is one of many nudes that Glackens produced during the 1920s, similar to and inspired by Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s nudes, some of which were in Dr Barnes’ collection.
Another winning lot was “Seascape Light, sky and crashing waves against the rocks, Cannon beach in Oregon” by Albert O’Hayon, who captured the immediate effect of light reflected in the water, applying layers of paint and then carving them away. O’Hayon had his first exhibition at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, and later worked for Renaissance Fine Art. The ocean scene was bid to $225,000 and sold to a bidder on the phone.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.cfaauctions.com or 800-407-1120.
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