CRANSTON, R.I. – An oil on canvas landscape painting by Hudson River School artist Julie Hart Beers (1835-1913), titled “Summer at Mossy Brook,” was one of the top lots in an online-only estate fine art and antiques auction conducted January 6 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, fetching a robust $20,000.
The auction featured 386 lots, mostly pulled from estates and collections across New England. “The auction was exciting to start the New Year off with a lot of bidding action on all platforms and on all categories from fine arts to Asian across the board,” said Kevin Bruneau, Bruneau & Co’s president and an auctioneer. “It was good to see.”
The Beers painting was a naturalistic depiction of towering birch trees beside a glistening lake. The 17-by-11-inch work was signed “Julie H. Beers ’78” bottom right and titled on verso. Beers’s work conveys the intimacy of the Hudson River and New England’s vast landscapes. She was one of only a few prolific female painters of the Victorian era.
Beers was the sister of two other Hudson River School artists: James McDougal Hart and William Hart. She learned to paint from them, as well as her husband, who was also an artist. Her work was widely exhibited throughout the United States, including the Boston Athenaeum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and National Academy of Design.
“It was uplifting to see such strong results for the Julie Beers and Anthony Thieme paintings, as more traditional subjects have been depressed,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. auctioneer and the firm’s director of Pop culture. “It was a good sign for the markets as we enter 2022.”
The painting by Anthony Thieme (1888-1954) was a watercolor on paper that depicted groups of men in boats floating through calm waters, surrounded by tropical trees. The work measured 19½ by 28 inches and was signed “A Thieme” in the lower right corner. The painting easily bested its $500/800 estimate, finishing at $12,500.
Thieme studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts under George Hacker, then later in Italy and Germany. He’s best known for depictions of boats, fishermen and harbors. Thieme was a major figure in the Rockport (Mass.) School of American regional art and was an accomplished en plein air artist. But he suffered from depression and took his own life at age 66.
An original portrait painting by Edgar S. Paxson (1852-1919) of a Native American man with a strong side profile, long thick black hair and a single feather adornment over a rich blue background, changed hands for $12,500. The oil on board painting, 5½ by 4½ inches, was housed in a 9-by-8-inch frame and signed and dated “E. S. Paxson 1906” lower right.
Paxson was a notable artist of the vanishing West, born in New York with his early art education received from his father, a sign painter and carriage decorator. He moved to Montana in 1881, where his studios became popular attractions for artists visiting the West. Paxson was most interested in painting the portraits of those who fought at Little Big Horn. This led him to befriend and ultimately paint Gall, the Chief of the Sioux.
An oil on canvas abstract modern painting by Sudanese artist Hussein Shariffe (1934-2005) found a new owner for $11,250. The work depicted an abstract figure with an elongated, spindly neck and legs, beside a bird in deep muted colors, with the setting sun as a backdrop. The 32-by-24-inch painting was signed “Shariffe” lower left.
An early Twentieth Century black “Supercharged” Auburn pedal car made by Murray Mfg. Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), was a surprise sleeper of the auction, roaring past its $300/500 estimate to sell for $5,938. The car came out of the collection of a Plainfield Conn., estate and measured 52 inches in length.
The runner-up top lot, after the Beers painting, was a carved, Nineteenth Century European mahogany stained glass bronze bar. The bar, 10 feet tall by 13 feet 6 inches wide, featured stained glass trim over a large mirror decorated with blue and white tiles over a marble top over three doors, one opening to reveal a sink, flanked by two large bronze figural columns depicting Herculean men with lion fur draped over their shoulders.
The bar was removed from Miramar Mansion in Newport, R.I., and fell short of its $20/40,000 estimate, selling for $19,200.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, 401-533-9980 or www.bruneauandco.com.