Published: August 30, 2017
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy James D. Julia
FAIRFIELD, MAINE – The question: What measures 8½ by 11 by 1-1/8 inches, has a colorful binding holding 624 pages, pictures 1,637 objects that are up for sale, and weighs a whopping 4 pounds, 4 ounces? If you guessed the auction catalog for the three-day sale at James D. Julia Inc on August 16, 17 and 18, then you are right. And if you happened to be at this auction, chances are you might have made several trips to the food table, provided by Julia, to not only sample the buffet, but also to walk off some catalog lap fatigue.
By the end of the day on Wednesday, bidders had spent $1.78 million on paintings and sculpture, another $1.19 million was spent on day two for more paintings, furniture, weathervanes, folk art, etc, and the third day more furniture, silver, folk art, rugs and general antiques, plus an Asian section, accounted for $680,000, for a grand total of $3.65 million for the auction. The phones were active daily, and the internet accounted for about 23 percent of sales.
Right on the dot of 10 am on Wednesday James Julia rapped his gavel loudly at the front of the room and gave a warm welcome to those in the gallery that could be heard out in the street. He continued by praising his crew and introduced everyone, starting with Mark Ford, his CEO, right down through a host of people who “make my life easier and keep things running very smoothly.”
Day one was devoted to paintings, prints and some sculpture, 645 lots, starting with 11 works by Waldo Peirce, including an oil on board titled “Blue Ribbon Dog Show” at $6,050 and “Pansies,” an oil on canvas, for $1,089. All prices noted include the buyer’s premium.
Selling for $3,630, within estimate, was an oil on canvas by Williams Lester Stevens (American, 1888-1969) titled “Lone Birch Beside a Lake,” 40 by 32 inches sight, while “Morning Eastport, Maine,” an oil on canvas by Anthony Thieme, 25 by 30 inches sight, sold within estimate at $12,705. Also making it within estimate at $5,445 was another oil on canvas by Stevens, “Bass Harbor Headlight, Mount Desert, Maine,” 24 by 30 inches sight.
Selling for $18,150, within estimate, was an oil on Masonite by Jay Hall Connaway (American, 1893-1970), titled “Moonlit Sea, Monhegan Island.” The provenance lists Leonebel Connaway, the artist’s daughter, and the painting measures 26 by 36 inches sight. Emile Albert Gruppe (American, 1896-1978), was well represented in the auction, including lot 1080, “Morning, Smith Cove, Gloucester,” an oil on canvas measuring 25 by 30 inches sight and selling for $19,285, within estimate.
A phone bidder registered $18,150 to win an oil on canvas by Stevens, “Gloucester Farm House With Stone Wall,” signed lower right and measuring 42 by 48 inches sight. The final bid was within estimate and the provenance lists Vose Galleries, Boston. A few lots later a gouache by Jane Peterson (American, 1876-1965), “Fishing Boat at Wharf, Gloucester,” sold for $15,125, above the $12,000 high estimate. The work is signed lower right and it measures 19¾ by 27 inches.
Selling for $5,445, over estimate, was this oil on canvas, “Boaters on a Lake, White Mountains, New Hampshire,” by Benjamin Champney (American, 1817-1907). It is in a modern giltwood frame, measures 19 by 29 sight and is signed lower right.
A large oil on canvas by Aldro Thompson Hibbard, 30 by 36 inches sight, “West River, Vermont,” is signed lower left and brought $18,150, within estimate. Also selling within estimate was lot 1181, an oil on canvas by Warren Sheppard (American, 1858-1937), “Luminous Seascape,” at $8,470. It is signed lower left and measures 20 by 30 sight. “The Hudson, Autumn Morning,” an oil on canvas by Leon Dabo (American French, 1864-1960), measures 27 by 36 inches sight, and went for $24,200, just a hair under the high estimate. This work is housed in a reeded gilt period frame and the provenance mentions that the painting was removed from the Maine State House in Poland Springs.
One of the lithographs in the auction was by Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), a circa 1933 work titled “Strike,” 8¾ by 10¾ inches sight, signed in pencil lower right, and in very good to excellent condition. It sold within estimate for $8,470. A phone bidder took an oil on canvas board by Robert Lewis Reed (American, 1862-1929), “Winter,” for $12,100. It measures 18 by 24 inches sight and the provenance lists a Connecticut collection.
“Still Life of White Flowers in a Glass Compote,” an oil on canvas by Cecil Kennedy (English, 1905-1997), housed in a carved giltwood frame and measuring 36½ by 31½ inches overall, sold for just over the low estimate at $10,285. It is signed lower right and is in very good to excellent condition. “Beach Scene with Figures and Sailboats,” an oil on beveled panel, is signed lower right “Tiffany,” and measures 6½ by 15 inches. It is housed in a William Hall giltwood frame and sold for $4,779.
It was 4:45 pm when lot 1645 came up, the final piece in the session, a mixed media and collage by Robert Allen Nelson (American, b 1925), “The Wrong Barnyard Food,” signed lower right and measuring 30 by 44 inches sight. This final lot went to a person in the front row of the gallery.
Thursday, Day Two
After another warm welcome from James Julia at 10 am on Thursday, things were off and rolling with 573 lots on the schedule of military objects, including swords and guns, some furniture, more paintings, weathervanes, sculpture, Shaker material, trade signs and rugs. At day’s end another $1.19 million had been spent, counting the buyer’s premium.
The third lot of the day featured a rare Revolutionary War “United States” branded Charleville musket, 59½ inches overall, that surpassed the $9,000 high estimate, selling for $14,125. The catalog notes that this is probably the only authentic and original branded Model 1763 Charleville musket to even come to public auction. A few lots later, a rare Congressional presentation sword to Charles Williamson for valor on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812 brought $27,830, just under the high $30,000 estimate. The hilt and grip are of unique design, showing a panoply of naval arms with superposed spread-winged eagle. This sword, like others, was made by William Rose and so marked. This sword, measuring 39 inches overall, is new to the market and was just recently found in a local estate in “as-found” condition.
A bid of $7,865, over estimate, took a rare “War of 1812” US regulation naval battle ax, early Nineteenth Century that was made in the Navy Yard Washington. A grouping of five steel shooting gallery targets, three round and 12 inches in diameter, the others in the form of an eagle, 12½ inches high, went over the $1,200 high estimate, selling for $2,178.
A book, Les Roses, by Pierre-Joseph Redoute and Ckaude Antoine Thory, published in Paris in three volumes, 14 by 10 inches, contains 169 engraved plates and sold for $65,340, well above the $20,000 high estimate. A picture of the lot was in last week’s paper.
A set of ten Massachusetts Queen Anne side chairs, second half of the Eighteenth Century, all in black paint, sold for $5,747, exceeding the $2,000 high estimate. The sets includes five chairs from the original set, the others of later date. Falling within estimate at $6,050 was a Boston Queen Anne easy chair, mid-Eighteenth Century, Massachusetts, with raked back and ovoid crest adjoining serpentine wings. It retains the original surface, now with rich, dark color.
One of the large weathervanes in the sale was a Harris & Co., signed copper cow, 23½ inches high and 34 inches long, stamped A.J. Harris & Co., that went over the $6,000 high estimate, selling for $8,470. A rare New York City sack back Windsor armchair, late Eighteenth Century, with nine spindles, sold just over the low estimate at $1,694. The carved saddle seat rests on vase, ring and reel turned splayed legs and the old green paint is of Nineteenth Century origin. Selling for $6,352, just over the high estimate, was a large early American pine harvest table, second quarter of the Nineteenth Century, New England, measuring 28 inches high, 84½ inches long and 19 inches wide. It is 37 inches wide when open. It has a single board top and the provenance lists Nathan Liverant and Son, Colchester, Conn.
Among the rugs in the sale was a semi-antique Sarouk mirror scenic prayer rug, Central Persia, late Nineteenth Century, measuring 4 feet 1 inch by 6 feet 6 inches. It went for $2,117, within estimate. A few lots later, a Tekke Oriental rug, West Turkmenistan, late Nineteenth Century, 6 feet 9 inches by 9 feet 6 inches, sold within estimate at $3,932. The rug is in very fine condition with rich hues of wine red, indigo and cream.
Carved from laminated pine stock was a smiling gentleman attired in blue jacket, white shirt and red bow tie, holding a bunch of cigars, 29 inches high, that went for $5,747, just over high estimate. This African American tobacconist countertop bust figure dates circa 1900, American origin. Selling for $10,285, over estimate, was a rare E.M. White Canoe Company sample canoe, a 52-inch model dating from the 1920s.
At 1 pm, three hours into the auction, a group of authentic whalebone tools dating from the second half of the Nineteenth Century, American, went just over the high estimate, bringing $3,025. Included in the group were a haying hook, drill with turned handle, handheld chisel, two-handed spoke shaver and a scribe. This lot came out of a New Bedford collection. An early oil on canvas by Antonio Jacobsen (American, 1850-1921) is a portrait of the American screw steam-sailer Niagara of the Ward Line, New York City, that just cleared the low estimate, selling for $10,890. The Niagara is shown flying an American flag and the Ward Line house flag, and seven figures can be seen on her deck. This painting measures 22 by 36 inches sight. Several sailor’s valentines were offered, including a hexagonal boxed example from the second quarter of the Nineteenth Century, New England, 6½ inches high by 16 inches in diameter, for $3,025.
A Hepplewhite carved mahogany five-back settee dating from the late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, each back with serpentine crests and scrolling leaf tips within a shield-form molded frame, pointed Marlborough feet with four backswept rear legs, sold for under the low estimate at $3,630. It was followed by an Abel Hutchins inlaid mahogany tall case clock, Concord, N.H., measuring 70¾ inches overall height. This clock, circa 1810, has an eight-day brass movement and sold within estimate for $6,352.
The portrait of John Balfour, MP, an oil on canvas by Sir Henry Raeburn (UK Scotland, 1756-1823) shows the sitter in brown coat, yellow vest and white stock. It measures 30 by 25 inches sight and the provenance notes that it descended in the family of Albert L. Ellsworth, founder of the British American Oil Company, which was the predecessor to Gulf Canada. The painting sold just under the high estimate at $18,150.
A Regency rosewood and abalone tea caddy, 8 inches high, 14 inches long and 6½ inches deep, the box inlaid with abalone panels depicting scrolling floral vinery, sold within estimate at $1,331, while two phone bidders went head to head over two mirrors, a Chippendale transitional giltwood leaf carved oval mirror and a Hepplewhite Classical carved giltwood mirror that went over the $1,500 high estimate, selling for $2,420.
Once again the phones dominated the bidding for lot 2350, a primitive still life of white compote with fruit and cheese, the painting on board in period frame and measuring 11¾ by 11¾ inches sight. With a high estimate of $1,200, the painting went for $8,470.
A group of seven oval covered pantry boxes, late Eighteenth to Nineteenth Century, New England, all in red wash with the exception of one in mustard yellow, all with untouched surface, with fingers, sold for $1,452, over the high $900 estimate. The boxes were followed by a two-sided painted game board, New England, with both checkers and Parcheesi, 18 inches square with all original surfaces. It carried a high estimate of $3,500, and went out for $5,142. A carved sperm whale by Clark G. Voorhees, 17 inches long, original painted surface, went over the $1,200 high estimate, bringing $1,815.
Selling at the high estimate, $3,025, was a highly figured burl bowl, New England, late Eighteenth Century, measuring 12¾ inches in diameter, and a set of four Connecticut Windsor side chairs in black paint, New London or possibly Windham County, circa 1790, untouched original condition, went under estimate, selling for $847.
Toward the end of the auction a Portsmouth, N.H., Federal inlaid mahogany bowfront chest of drawers, early Nineteenth Century, raised on splayed French feet centering a swelled apron, very good overall condition, sold within estimate for $7,260, and the final lot, a grain painted open hanging display shelf, American, early Twentieth Century, 25 inches high, brought $91, under estimate.
Friday, Day Three
Still another warm welcome from James Julia on Friday, the final sessions, beginning with 247 lots and ending with a section of Asian material, another 172 lots. At day’s end $680,000 was added to the total of the three days and another successful auction was chalked up by the Julia firm.
Five lots of mechanical banks by J&E Stevens Co., Cromwell, Conn., started the day, with the fourth lot, including Mason Bank, Boy on Trapeze, Magic Bank and Paddy & The Pig, selling for $2,117.
An Are You a Buffalo bell toy followed the bank, bringing $2,420, and a Buick Arcade cast iron toy at $1,210.
After selling this lot, Jim Julia decided he did not need his suit jacket and off it came, leaving him with his long-sleeved shirt and suspenders that needed some adjustment. He fixed the right one, but the left one disappeared over his shoulder as he attempted to swing his gavel at the same time. Mark Ford, at his side, came to the rescue, fished it back over the shoulder, and the sale continued without missing a bid.
A 1913 Mercer Raceabout Sapor model, limited edition #13 of 25, manufactured in Germany, 1991, comes with external power supply, as-new condition, sold over estimate for $6,655, and a rare Gary Cooper movie poster for The Virginian, 118 inches long and 15½ inches wide, sold just within estimate for $3,630. A group of 14 Tiffany gold Favrile stemmed goblets, Tiffany & Co., New York, very good overall, went for $2,420, within estimate.
A fine pair of vintage Hermes Constance lady’s handbags, France, very fine condition, went over estimate selling for $4,840; a Rookwood floral decorated vase by Kataro Shirayamadani (1865-1948), circa 1925, the body in blue/black tones, brought $1,210; and a Victorian signed R.J. Horner, New York, carved mahogany china cupboard dating from the Nineteenth Century, carved lion heads on the door and sides featuring floral designs, 66½ inches high, sold just under estimate for $5,142.
Among the silver lots was a three-piece sterling scenic decorated tea set by S. Kirk & Son, consisting of a teapot 13 inches high, a covered sugar 8 inches high, and a creamer, 8¾ inches high. Each piece is set on a round pedestal base and the covers are adorned with flowers and leaves. The set sold over estimate at $4,235. A lot of 107 pieces of sterling flatware by Georg Jensen, Denmark, in the Acorn pattern, went out over estimate at $6,655, while a grouping of 18 canes and walking sticks, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, American, Europe and United Kingdom, sold for $1,815, within estimate. The canes varied in material and length and came from the estate of Morris Racker.
Selling for just over twice the high estimate was a large KPM porcelain plaque depicting children carrying a garland of fruit, initialed A.J. lower right, housed in a painted gold carved wood frame. It measures 10 by 12½ inches sight. A rare Howard double dial hanging railroad slave clock, second half of the Nineteenth Century, Boston origin, designed to be hanging from the ceiling,realized $5,082, well over the $1,500 high estimate, and a painted trade sign for “The Silsby Manufacturing Co.,” a wood badge-form sign with gold lettering and decorative surrounds, 48 inches high and 23½ inches wide, went for $3,025, above estimate. Selling for $1,875, just over estimate, was a fine eyedazzler Navajo rug, circa 1900, with three borders of black, gray and red. It measures approximately 43 by 59 inches and is presently installed in a plain frame.
A late Eighteenth Century Iroquois beaded and quilled bag, smoked buckskin with silk edging having white beads and quills dyed blue, came out of an old Maine collection, measures 8½ by 8 inches, and sold just over the high estimate at $4,235.
The Asian Section
A celadon glazed footed bowl, China, Ming dynasty, led off the Asian section of the auction, selling for $1,936, more than twice the $700 high estimate. The walls of the bowl are in slightly flared form and it rests on three short legs. It measures 10¼ inches wide and 7 inches high. An Egyptian bronze of Isis and Horus, possibly 26th through 30th Dynasty, the goddess seated with her feet resting on a plinth and Horus seated in her lap, 7¼ inches high overall, brought $3,932, below estimate, and a pair of Dayazhai-style Zhadao vases, China, Twentieth Century, hand painted with colorful blossoming vases, went well over the $600 high estimate, selling for $6,655.
Lot 3585, a large carved jade and cloisonne embellished panel, China, Twentieth Century, inset with designs of precious objects carved from various stone, was housed in a wood frame measuring 39¼ inches high by 25½ inches wide. With a high estimate of $1,200, it sold for $4,235. A few lots later, a large cloisonne hu vase, China late Ming dynasty, 13½ inches high, came close to doubling the high estimate by selling for $14,520.
An extensive famille rose porcelain dinner service, China, Nineteenth Century, with pieces decorated with bunches of flowers, fruit and insects encircled by flying dragons and various precious objects, brought $9,377.
An impressive pair of famille rose porcelain floor vases, China, late Qing Dynasty, went over the $7,000 high estimate, bringing $10,890. The vases are made in a flattened hexagonal form and painted with reserves of figures around each section surrounded by trim made up of colorful flowers. There are applied chilongs at the shoulders and scepter-form handles flanking the neck. Each measures 34½ inches tall.
The $600 high estimate was left way behind when a bronze censer sold for $7,260. This censer, dating from the Eighteenth Century or earlier, China, with shaped handles and six-character Hsuan Te mark on the base, is in very good condition, and measures 5¾ inches high and 11 inches in diameter. The Asian section ended with a famille rose porcelain jar, China, early Twentieth Century, decorated with lotus plants and measuring 6½ inches high by 6¼ inches in diameter, that brought $121, within estimate.
Upcoming auctions at James D. Julia include a firearms sale in October 31-November 2, and a November auction featuring lamps, glass and jewelry.
For additional information, jamesdjulia.com or 207-453-7125.
February 7, 2023
February 7, 2023
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