Published: May 17, 2016
Review by W.A. Demers,
Photos Courtesy Barridoff Galleries
PORTLAND, MAINE — There’s seemingly no end to fans of Maine’s Monhegan Island when it comes to Barridoff’s bi-annual international fine art sales. Last October it was James Fitzgerald’s (American, 1899–1971), “Saltin’ Mackerel aka Working Day, Monhegan” that created buzz in the room when a collector bid it up to $74,400. This, year, on May 5, the rugged idyllic spot that has attracted artists, fisherman and visitors since the turn of the century was again the subject for the sale’s showstopper. Hayley Lever’s (American, 1876–1958), “Monhegan,” a colorful oil on board of small boats afloat in the harbor, sailed to $57,600, leading the firm’s 285-lot auction, which was conducted in the Abromson Center on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.
“It was just a lovely sale,” auction house co-principal Rob Elowitch told Antiques and The Arts Weekly afterward. “All the important lots sold and sold well. Indicative of the times, no doubt, but without something unique or special, the lesser lots were more difficult.”
That something special was certainly at work in a 76-by-54-inch oil on canvas titled “The Green Fuse” by Twentieth Century American painter Joel Babb. Babb, who is represented by Vose Contemporary, primarily studied abstract painting, but after a pivotal postgraduate year in Europe he turned from abstraction to realism. Applying Eighteenth Century style to modern subjects, his representational art is keenly on display in this woodlands portrait of old, primeval and new growth working in concert to filter autumnal light and hues that are reflected in a stream. From a greater Portland family, the lot surpassed its $20/30,000 estimate to settle at $46,000.
A panoramic “View of the White Mountains from the Jones Farm,” 1862, by Harrison Bird Brown (American, 1831–1915) was titled, signed and dated “White Mt From N. Jones Farm, painted by HHBrown 1862” on the stretcher verso. The 25¼-by-42¼-inch oil on canvas fetched $20,400.
“Waldo Peirce [American, 1884–1970] did three oils of the Harvard Tercentennial of 1936,” said Elowitch with regard to one of the approximately 20 works by the artist offered in this sale. “President Roosevelt was one of the many important dignitaries. A graduate of Harvard, Peirce painted the central ceremony from three angles. The Harvard Museums own two. We sold the third for $16,800.”
“Coyote” by Ed Ruscha (American, b 1937) depicts the animal in iconic howling pose in a lithograph on rolled Arches paper measuring 45 by 34 inches. “The Ed Ruscha was unique for Barridoff Galleries,” stated Elowitch. “Work from one of the so-called Pop artists is a rarity, but the fine lithograph ‘Coyote’ appears to have established a world auction record at $13,200. Linda Tyler, the widow of Peter Walch, at one time the director of the University of New Mexico Museum, was the consignor. She wrote to Barridoff Galleries, ‘I worked at Tamarind [the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque] and watched much of Ruscha’s creating the matrix on the stone and the master printer’s printing of the image in the pressroom. It’s complicated stuff.’”
Barridoff has had success in the past selling atmospheric coastal scenes by Stephen Etnier (American, 1903–1984), and for this sale the track record continued with “Cove at Bailey’s Island,” 24 by 36 inches, squarely meeting its high estimate at $12,000.
“It’s so rare today to walk into someone’s abode and see a wonderful untouched painting hanging on the wall, and when it’s by one of the so-called Canadian Seven, also known as the Algonquin School, it is very special indeed,” remarked Elowitch. Offered early in the sale, Arthur Lismer’s (Canadian, 1885–1969) “Rock and Pool, Georgian Bay,” an oil on board, 12 by 15½ inches, commanded $15,600. “The owner’s father had purchased it directly from the artist and had inherited it a number of years previously,” Elowitch added. “The only other art in his house was his own very fine work, obviously influenced by the Lismer.”
Additional sale highlights included Gerard Portielje’s (Belgian, 1856–1929) oil on canvas genre scene of gentlemen in a pub gathered around a table in “Rapt Attention to the News,” which was bid to $10,200, and “Ancient Live Oak” by Marguerite Zorach (American, 1887–1968), which achieved $10,800.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 207-772-5011 or www.barridoff.com.
May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
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