Published: January 23, 2007
Gavels came down fast and furious in many auction halls around the country over the holidays, once again providing both entertainment and investment opportunities as the old year concluded and the new one began.
As in the previous couple of years, prices generally stayed below the stratosphere — only one of the auction houses surveyed for this report breached the $100,000 mark — but, as usual, solid prices were realized for unique and top level items.
Featured are notable items auctioned at sales that were conducted during the period December 26, 2006, to January 7, 2007.
Echoing a trend for 2006 seen among the major auction houses, well executed fine artworks by notable artists dominated the action.
More than 700 bidders registered for Stamford Auctions’ New Year’s Day sale, and the auction floor was packed right through the end of the marathon sale at 12:06 am on January 2.
While the Northeast basked in unseasonable warmth, a snowy Manhattan scene by artist Birge Harrison stole the show in Stamford. Realizing $141,000, the painting was the highest selling lot at the 20th Annual New Year’s Day auction where a trio of auctioneers collectively toiled to sell more than 125 lots per hour.
Likewise, a characteristically snowy cityscape by Guy Wiggins topped the bidding at Nadeau Auction Gallery’s annual New Year’s Day sale on January 1 in Windsor, Conn., fetching $46,000.
Often called his best print, an etching, “The Embroidered Curtain,” 1889, by American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) was also a bidder’s favorite at Brunk Auctions in Asheville, N.C., on January 6, attaining $97,750.
Artwork embellished more dimensions at Pook & Pook’s two-day sale on January 5–6 when, with nine phone lines vying for a pair of Paris porcelain urns with portraits of early American presidents, the circa Nineteenth Century urns depicting Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe topped the sale, going to a phone bidder for $64,350.
John McInnis Auctions wound up 2006 with a strong sale on December 30 in Amesbury, Mass., that saw the 1903 oil on canvas portrait of ballerinas backstage, “The Amateurs,” by Louis Kronberg bring $48,875.
A genre scene of a little girl drawing a stick figure over a painting on an easel, the 60-by-34-inch oil on canvas “Helping Papa” by Joseph Henry Hatfield, sold for $41,170. The painting was exhibited in 1894 at the Art Institute of Chicago and was accompanied by the catalog of the show.
Both paintings descended in the Ricker family, the founders of the Poland Spring water company and innkeepers on the site since the 1790s and both went to dealer Peter Clarke, who now runs his gallery in nearby Newburyport.
Bidders’ choice at The Cobbs Auctioneers’ important antiques, sporting and fine art auction on January 6 in Peterborough, N.H., was an early Twentieth Century Impressionistic landscape by Richard Edward Miller that brought $48,875 from an Internet buyer after a competition between the phones, the Internet and some absentee bids. The landscape, measuring 26 by 28 inches and signed lower left “Miller,” is thought to be of the area around Giverny, France.
At the same sale, a small (8-by-12-inch) oil on board by William Aiken Walker of a cabin with a family and animals was another highlight when it sold to a phone bidder for $34,500.
The top price achieved at William Jenack’s January 7 sale in Chester, N.Y., was for a well executed pre-Raphaelite Russian School oil on panel, “The Roman Bather,” School of Hendrik Siemiradski, 163/8 by 12¼ inches, which sold over the phone to a European collector for $42,550.
Excitement at Copake Auction in Copake, N.Y., on January 1 centered on a pair of circa 1817 Ammi Phillips oil on canvas portraits. Captured by the early American portrait painter were the likenesses of Tobias Teller (1772–1854) and Caroline (or Paulina) Sammis Teller (1788–1865), residents of Red Hook, N.Y. These portraits, each measuring 295/8 by 23½ inches, were in the Boscobel collection and are illustrated in Federal Furniture and Decorative Arts; they sold for $34,100.
Marine painting scholars attributed the work that was the top lot at Garth’s January 5–6 sale in Delaware, Ohio, to J.B. Smith. Selling for $26,450, the unsigned oil on canvas was from the antiques and decorative art collection of the CNA insurance company.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm