Published: September 14, 2004
The August Maine auction season just would not be complete without an extended visit to the Samoset Resort for James Julia’s three-day extravaganza.
Close to 2,000 lots, grossing $2.1 million, ranging from early American to Victoriana crossed the auction block from Wednesday afternoon, August 25, to Friday evening, August 27, and as always, there are quite a few “pleasant surprises.”
This auction has become a cornerstone of the season in mid-coastal Maine, and with four other major auctions and one show in the area, it brings people from near and far. Bill Gage, Julia’s Americana expert, stated, “Overall I was very pleased with the sale. Paintings did quite well, although there was some spottiness here and there in other areas.”
In fact, the prime selection of paintings offered dominated the auction with the top lot of the sale coming early during the final session on Friday morning as a California Impressionist painting by Granville Seymour Redmond was sold. The painting, titled “Wild Flower Hillside,” measured 20 by 30 inches and was signed “Granville Redmond.” Housed in a period Arts and Crafts frame and estimated at $40/60,000, the rare painting opened for bidding at $39,000.
A bid of $40,000 came from a client in the doorway on the side of the auction room, it was countered immediately at $41,000 by the phones. The bidder in the doorway, with a cell phone pressed to his ear, held his bid card high in the air and never flinched despite the rapid responses from the telephones till the lot hit $75,000.
The successful bidder, Scottsdale dealer Steve Brennen of The Brennen Collection, stated that he was representing a client. “It’s by a very important California painter,” he said. “It’s a beautiful painting and it brought a decent price.” When asked about the client, Brennen would only comment that the “painting is going back to California.”
The first session of this year’s sale, Wednesday, was devoted entirely to art with 246 pieces offered ranging from French Impressionist works to British portraits, and a smattering of Russian works.
Highlighting the session was an unassuming Russian painting, the last of a group of four to be sold. The still life depicted a table setting with fruit basket and a bottle of wine and carried a presale estimate of $2/4,000. The painting had been obtained from the artist by the consignor’s family and received scant attention prior to the sale with only a small photograph illustrating the lot. Bids were brisk on the entire group of paintings with the first by Tchelitchew selling at $5,865, another by the same artist realized $4,830, and a Terechkovitch tabletop still life brought $1,322.
The fourth painting of the group, however, by David Petrovich Sterenberg, sparked a great deal of interest with it selling at $43,700.
A French oil by Jean Puy, measuring 32 by 253/4 inches, depicting a woman in a fancy white dress and hat strolling with her dog along a path through the woods also did well. The early painting, signed “J Puy” was said to be from Puy’s “finest time period.” Bidding on the lot opened to the floor at $10,000 and moved quickly with it selling for $34,500. A French painting by Maximilien Luce depicting an early morning street scene also did well at $11,500.
A Jules Rene Herve painting titled “Temps Gris A Langres” sold between estimates at $27,025, while an elegant British portrait by George Romney of Lady Robinson sold well above estimates at $31,625.
Thursday’s session featured Americana and it got off to a brisk start with a swing handled basket falling under the hammer rather quickly for $258. Julia warned the crowd to bid quick and proceeded to establish a blistering pace.
It was not long before the first of the lots took off; roughly ten lots into the sale a rare pair of Ruth Henshaw Bascom folk art cutout silhouette and colored portraits on a blue background was offered. The lot carried a presale estimate of $2/5,000 and opened to the floor at $1,000. The lot advanced back and forth between a bidder in the rear row of the gallery and a phone bidder in $1,000 increments to $14,000, where the bid was split to $500s. The lot still marched on with the same two players hitting the lot until it hammered to the phone bidder at $26,450. A Prior-Hamblin school portrait of a woman with a bow exceeded estimates at $6,670, while a portrait of a gentleman in a grained frame brought $3,795.
Furniture in the sale included a Queen Anne highboy of North Shore origin in a nice old finish that sold at $20,125. A set of six Hitchcock Sheraton side chairs with horizontal slat backs did well. Decorated with landscapes and sailing ship scenes that were attributed to Salem, Mass., painter Samuel Bartol, they sold just above estimates at $9,200.
An unusual cupboard in red paint with grained sides and reeded raised panels attracted quite a bit of attention. With a large hood extending over arched doors and sitting on a canted base, the piece, originally picked in Maine, was thought by several to be of Canadian origin. Bidding on the lot was quick paced with it selling at $5,750.
A small Maine paint decorated taper leg stand also did well with the piece selling well above estimates at $2,300.
Continental furniture included a Louis XV provincial elm wood commode in a serpentine bombe form with a provenance of the Woolworth collection also did well selling at $9,200.
Several paintings were included in the session with an Antonio Jacobsen ship portrait of the three-master The Laomene selling at $23,000, a view of “Little Falls on the Mohawk River” by Henry Ferguson at $11,500, and a portrait of the schooner Ontario by Petrus Weyts bringing $9,487.
Smalls included an unassuming small silver covered pitcher by Boston maker A&G Wells, circa 1800-1810, marked with the eagle touchmark and having a grasshopper finial. The rare pitcher, estimated at $½ ,000, took off with a lady seated in the front row battling with John Trace to a final price of $15,237. A detailed ships diorama sold at $11,500, while a long folky hooked runner brought $5,750.
An Ogden Pleissner watercolor, titled “Winter Shoot,” depicted a snow-covered country landscape with a gunner taking aim at a grouse. The large piece, also with Woolworth provenance, opened for bidding at $35,000 and hammered at $40,250.
Other top lots included a Francis Silva luminous harbor scene at $25,300, a William Trost Richards watercolor seascape at $17,250, a Edmund Greacen portrait of a young girl at $16,675, and a Charles Woodbury seascape oil at $17,825.
Furniture in the session included a four-piece laminated and carved rosewood parlor suite attributed to New York City cabinetmaker Charles Boudoine that sold at $29,300, a marquetry inlaid and ebonized rosewood chest with tall mirrored back attributed to Herter Brothers at $8,050, and an inlaid marble-top center table also thought to be by Herter Brothers, sold at $6,900.
Other rdf_Descriptions of interest included a life-size zinc garden statue of a reclining pointer by James Kirtland selling reasonably at $11,500, a set of 11 Tiffany sterling and Lenox handled cups, $10,062, and an unusual pottery camel-form cigar holder and tobacco box in a blue-green majolica type glaze selling at double the estimates at $4,830.
Prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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