Published: January 8, 2008
The fall/winter season of fine arts sales in Bonhams’ New York City salesroom began with two competitive and successful auctions. With a simulcast sale on November 7 that was headlined by a newly found painting by John William Godward, the auction of European paintings totaled more than $2.6 million and included multiple bouts of competitive bidding. The Bonhams American paintings sale took place on November 28 in the Madison Avenue salesrooms, totaling nearly $1.4 million, many lots selling well above estimates.
The previously unrecorded work by British Classicist painter John William Godward, titled “Ione,” is a beautifully rendered painting praised by the artist’s biographer as “an outstanding example of the artist’s work.” The painting will be included in an upcoming revised Godward catalogue raisonné.
The painting came to Bonhams via a direct link to the artist himself. Bonhams’ sale marked the first time the painting has been publicly exhibited; it was on view in the previews in both San Francisco and New York City. The painting’s importance and intriguing provenance generated much excitement within the art community, and it sold for $684,000.
Other European sale highlights included an exceptional work by Spanish painter Martin Rico y Ortega, “A View of Palazzo Cavalli and Palazzo Barbaro on the Grand Canal,” which tripled its estimate to bring $360,000; a beautiful oil painting attributed to Italian artist Francesco Zugno depicting the deities Ariadne and Bacchus brought $84,000; and the catalog cover lot, “The Toy Soldier” by Italian painter Natale Attanasio, inspired fierce bidding as it marched to its final price at $51,000.
A captivating marine painting by French painter Vincent Joseph Francois Courdouan came from a noted hotelier. The oil painting “Arrival into the Bay of Toulon” features a naval maritime scene, about which a contemporary critic said, “There were in France only four painters of marines: Courdouan who has talent, Morel-Fatio who does not have any, Ziem who still has some, and Gudin who does not have any, anymore.” The work was appreciated by bidders, nearly doubling its estimate to set sail for $66,000.
Bonhams’ November 28 sale of American paintings featured a wide assortment of masterpieces, with the top lot of the early evening auction a dramatic portrait by Robert Henri. The painting, “Portrait of Miss Louise Getz,” is signed and dated “Robert Henri 1925” and was accompanied by an autograph album belonging to the sitter, inscribed “To Louise, from Robert Henri, Los Angeles, March 19, 1925.” Valued at $100/150,000, the painting fetched $396,000. The sale was attended by members of the sitter’s family, several of whom had traveled from Beverly Hills to view the auction action.
The catalog cover lot, George Hitchcock’s “Portrait of a Dutch Woman in a Garden,” beat its high estimate of $80,000 to bring $108,000. As well, a captivating portrait by Hovsep Pushman titled “Guardian of the Seraglio” was sold. The painting bears a plaque on the reverse that reads “Medaille Antérieurement,” indicating that the artist had previously been awarded medals at the Salon des Artistes Français, Paris. The work fetched $84,000.
Additionally, two nautical paintings by James Edward Buttersworth were sold, at $78,000 each. A beautiful seascape by Francis Augustus Silva, “On the Connecticut Shore,” more than doubled its estimate, achieving $84,000.
All prices given include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.bonhams.com or 212-644-9001.
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