Published: May 15, 2001
Gifford Canvas Leads $1.7 Million Shannon Event
By Jackie Sideli
OLD GREENWICH, CONN. – Gene Shannon has been a private art dealer for 27 years, specializing in 90 percent American paintings, and ten percent European paintings, mostly from 1840 to 1940. About three and a half years ago, Gene Shannon decided to connect with more of the retail art market by starting his own fine art auction business, holding sales twice annually.
The firm has done exceedingly well, and it is no surprise that Shannon was mighty pleased with his fine art auction on Thursday, April 26. The three-and-a-half-year-old Milford, Conn., firm set a new record for sales at $1,738,000. The sale was solid across the board, and there were some very pleasant surprises.
A diminutive Bricher oil on canvas, “Winter Afteroon” (American, 1837-1908), sold for $23,000, nearly double the high estimate, to the phone. The canvas measured 5 by 8-¼ inches.
Thirteen phones and much floor action pushed the price for the Russell Smith (American, 1812-1896) “A Day at the Farm,” oil on canvas, signed and dated 1868, to a new world record at $18,400, selling to a bidder at the sale. A very pleased Lou Salerno of Questroyal Fine Arts of New York City went home with one of the top lots of the sale, the Sanford Robinson Gifford, for $92,000.
Many of the paintings were being sold to retail buyers, rather than to dealers, a phenomenon confirmed by Shannon, who told us in a post-sale chat that two-thirds of the pictures sold to retail buyers.
Dealer/Collector Tom Davies from New Canaan, Conn., was the buyer of the Francis Augustas Silva, (American, 1835-1886), an oil on canvas entitled “Sailing at Sunset,” which brought $74,750. The Edward Moran (American, 1829-1901) oil on canvas “View of New York Harbor,” signed and dated 1871, sold to a private collector at the sale for $74,750.
This was a very dynamic sale, with a lot of order bids and a lot of live bidding. Half of the auction was purchased or underbid by the phone. Perhaps part of the reason for the success of the Shannon auction is that almost all of the material was fresh-to-the-market, from private collectors and pickers, and most had never been auctioned before. The paintings were impressive, desirable and rare, so it is entirely appropriate that the retail and dealer clientele worked together to give Shannon its most successful auction ever.
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