Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Burchard Galleries
ST PETERSBURG, FLA. – Fine art pulled its weight for auctioneer Jeffrey Burchard of Burchard Galleries as the auction house offered just over 600 lots in its April 19 Vintage Antiques, Fine Art & Jewelry auction. The sale pulled from more than 100 consignors.
In the sale run up, auctioneer Jeffrey Burchard said he and his team did their best to provide the visualizations for prospective bidders in lieu of in-person previewing. He said the firm produced video gallery tours and separate videos for different genres of offerings, including fine art and jewelry.
Burchard said he had more than 700 people from 29 different countries watching the sale and bidding along across his two online platforms as he sold that Sunday.
“It was fast-paced, energetic bidding. An auctioneer’s dream,” he said. “It was hard and strong from the beginning to the end.”
The sale was led by a group of two bisque dolls, one of which was by Jumeau, that came from a private consignor. The duo sold for $10,200. The auction house had cataloged them generally as two bisque dolls, which drove bidder enthusiasm as they recognized the Jumeau in there. “I always put things up as soon as I can, even if it’s a short description,” Burchard said. “People were going wild because they realized one of them was a Jumeau. They were bidding like crazy from photographs.”
Art was particularly strong for the gallery in this sale.
Drawing 27 bids was a Theodore Clement Steele (American, 1847-1926) village landscape oil on canvas measuring 14 by 28 inches that sold for $6,900. The painting came with provenance that read “John H. Holliday bought this from T.C. Steele in 1887. It was inherited by his cousin, Evelyn, who sold it to Janet Holliday Welliver in the late 1950s.”
“The Smelt Fisherman” by Emile Gruppe (American, 1896-1978), a 25-by-30-inch oil on canvas, sold close to the top estimate at $6,600.
Three medieval combat bronzes were found near the top. Leading was a 26-inch-high “Combat du duc de Clarence et du Chevalier Fontaine” by Alfred Emile Nieuwerkerke (French, 1811-1892) depicting jousting knights, dated 1858, that brought $6,300. Behind at $4,800 was a 37½-inch-high archer with drawn bow by Russian artist Pierre Nicolas Tourgueneff (1854-1912). It had brought about four times that at Sotheby’s in 2012. At the same price was a Teutonic Knight, 27 inches high, by Austrian artist Victor Heinrich Seifert.
Burchard said he took about 80 works out of a Daytona, Fla., estate, with 48 lots of them by American artist Martin Joseph Hoffman (1935-2013). Hoffman was self-taught and worked as both illustrator and fine artist, selling works at the OK Harris gallery in New York City while also doing freelance work for Playboy. He designed the album cover for the Blondie record “Autoamerican.” His paintings are found in the Smithsonian, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Indiana Museum of Art and the Norton Museum of Art.
The varied works ranged from still lifes, landscapes and nudes to illustrations featuring Clint Eastwood and surrealist scenes. The top was claimed by a group of three unstretched oil on canvas paintings, all well-executed, from Hoffman’s “Gloucester” series that centered on the intersection of land and water. They brought $5,700. Seemingly from that same series was “Half Moon Beach,” a 36-by-56-inch oil on canvas that took $3,900. A 59-by-78½-inch unstretched oil on canvas that was a 1973 companion work to “High Power Lines,” in the Wichita Museum, sold for $2,880. A self-portrait painting done in the manner of Van Gogh brought a good price at $2,520. And because we would never lead you on, the Clint Eastwood painting, a 32-by-30-inch oil on canvas featuring the actor behind bars from the movie Escape from Alcatraz, took $1,680.
“It was a true attic find,” Burchard said, relating that he found them rolled up in the corner of the Daytona estate’s attic. Hoffman lived in Daytona later in life.
Burchard Galleries’ next sale is May 17 and will feature more than 500 lots of estate merchandise. For more information, www.burchardgalleries.com or 727-821-1167.