Published: July 1, 2015
The first lot of the day was “Smugglers Pushing Off Their Boat” by Mather Brown. It set the tone for the day, far exceeding its $4,000 estimate and going to a phone bidder for $21,600.
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack
Additional Photos Courtesy of Grogan & Company
DEDHAM, MASS. — Grogan’s Charles Street gallery was full when the first lot came up on June 21. That lot, a painting by Mather Brown (1761–1831), could be said to have set the tone for the day. Estimated at $4,000, it finished at $21,600. It was that way much of the day, with many paintings exceeding conservative estimates and jewelry blowing them away. A select group of Asian items also did well.
Michael Grogan told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that he was very satisfied with the overall results of the day. “We’re getting used to working in our new space,” he said. “It’s just our fifth sale here and we had a nice ‘homey’ feeling.” When asked if there were any surprises, he mentioned the Mather Brown painting and some of the jewelry lots. Multiple phone lines were in use and there were numerous Internet bidders — many of whom were successful buyers.
Grogan’s is a family affair. Michael’s wife Nancy is actively engaged in running the business, and his son was taking phone bids. Daughter Lucy heads the jewelry department and was at the podium for the jewelry portion of the sale. Lucy told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that she joined the family firm in April 2013, something she had always wanted to do. “It’s like a pipe dream, working day to day with my mom and dad,” she said. “I’m really grateful for that opportunity. I channel my dad when I’m up there selling.” Lucy has taken jewelry-related classes at Gemological Institute of America (GIA), completing the diamond courses and working towards a graduate degree. She has been at the podium for about 18 months.
“Fishing Fleet Riding Out a Storm” by William Edward Norton sold well over its estimate, achieving $15,600.
Several of the paintings were the property of the Boston Art Club. In addition to the Mather Brown genre painting “Smugglers Pushing Off Their Boat,” other paintings were also well regarded. A large nautical scene by William Edward Norton (1843–1916), “Fishing Fleet Riding Out A Storm,” went to a phone bidder at $15,600, exceeding its $5,000 estimate. There were two works by Raoul Dufy (1877–1953). One exceeded its estimate and one failed to sell. His “Panorama of Paris,” an interesting pencil and ink on paper, earned $9,375 on a single Internet bid, while “Butterflies,” a colorful watercolor, was passed. A pencil sketch by Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899), “Lion Study,” went for $2,500 to the Internet.
The American poet e.e. cummings (1894–1962) is not so well known as a painter. As a teenager, he attended the famous Armory Show of Modern art and later said that he was “knocked out by the Picassos.” He summered in Madison, N.H., a small town in the White Mountains, near Mount Chocorua and painted many scenes in the area. Grogan’s sale included one of his oils, “White Mountains Landscape.” It was a bright, colorful painting estimated to bring $2/4,000. It sold to an absentee bidder for $7,200.
Two watercolors by Chinese artist Chi Kwan Chen (1921–2007) went well over their estimates. “Interweaving,” signed in Chinese characters and in English, went to a bidder in the room for $39,000. Also selling in the room was his “Sound of the Spring Flood,” which brought $30,000.
Although better known as a poet, e.e. cummings was also a prolific painter. His “White Mountain Scene,” possibly in the area of Mount Chocorua, earned $7,200.
Phone bidders succeeded in acquiring two paintings by William Trost Richards (1833–1903). “On Icart Point, Guernsey” made $21,600, and “Beach at Icart Point, Guernsey” fetched $11,400, both exceeding their estimates. A Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828) portrait of Thomas Dawson, viscount and first baron Cremorne, 1785, with condition problems earned $7,200 from a phone bidder. A historical scene showing “Columbus’s Landfall at Grahams Bay, San Salvador” by Norman Wilkinson (1878–1971) was the subject of competing phone bidders: one succeeded, paying $7,200, well above the $1,500 estimate. Four paintings by John Joseph Enneking (1841–1916) sold between $960 and $3,000, each to an absentee bidder. Perhaps one of the better buys of the day was a lithograph by Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865). Titled “The National Lancers With The Reviewing Officers On The Boston Common,” it sold for only $313 to an Internet bidder.
The star of the auction was a platinum, onyx, turquoise and diamond sautoir. It was cataloged as “likely Boucheron” and Lucy Grogan, head of the jewelry department, told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that the clasp had a very faint Boucheron mark. She decided to be conservative with the attribution and the estimate. It far exceeded the estimate, finishing at $84,000. Bidders in the room competed with phone and Internet bidders, until a phone bidder was successful.
Sales of jewelry were strong and accounted for some of the highest prices of the day. Leading the section was a platinum, onyx, turquoise and diamond sautoir, cataloged as “likely Boucheron” and featuring single-cut diamond accents, a tassel with a carved turquoise bead and an onyx fringe. It actually had a very faint marking on the clasp, and Lucy Grogan told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that she deliberately downplayed the marking. “I wanted to let the bidders decide for themselves,” she said, and apparently they liked what they saw. It sold for $84,000 against a high estimate of $4,000. There was active bidding in the room, on the Internet and the phones. The battle came down to two phone bidders, one of whom held on and succeeded. Several other pieces brought five-figure prices.
Finishing strongly was a platinum, colored diamond and diamond ring. It was prong-set with a round brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamond weighing 3.26 carats, framed by ten bezel-set full-cut diamonds weighing approximately 0.75 carats. With GIA certification, it went out at $54,000. Continuing the strong run was a platinum and diamond Edwardian brooch set with five old European-cut diamonds weighing a combined total of 8.98 carats; it sold for $27,000. An attractive platinum, jadeite and diamond bracelet finished at $36,000. It had a total of about 7.25 carats of diamonds set in a fancy platinum bracelet with a large jadeite cabochon. There were more than 100 lots of jewelry and only about seven went unsold.
While jewelry and paintings led the sale, other items did well, including a group of silver. A six-piece Gorham coffee and tea service with tray and an engraved inscription dated 1893 went for $5,400. Another six-piece set, made by Dominick & Haff, fetched $3,720. A Mexican silver six-piece tea and coffee set with tray, made by Tango Aceves, achieved $4,800. An Irish silver two-handled cup with marks for Dublin, 1700, D.K., possibly made by David King, went well over its $700 estimate, selling for $3,000.
Some other items are worth noting. A reproduction harpsichord made in 1974 by Carl Fudge for Ariel W.P. Hall was estimated to bring $4,000 but finished at $19,200. Fudge was a master craftsman, known for his reproductions of historical keyboard instruments.
A Simon Willard tall case clock with an inlaid case brought $24,000. One of the last lots of the day was a collection of 11 cinnabar vessels. There were four tea-bowls, four footed wine cups and three bowls. Deaccessioned by the Newport, R.I., public library and estimated at $800, the group finished at $19,200. All in all, a successful day.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 617-720-2020 or www.groganco.com.
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