Published: November 16, 2010
The buzz was about the new auction house in town, Loew-Demers Auctions, which staged its first sale October 23 and pulled out all the stops. The event was well organized and presented beautifully, with copious offerings of hors d’oeuvres and wine during the preview. The site was elegant: the great hall of the Hunnewell Building, the former coach house of the Cheney-Baltzell estate on the grounds of Elm Bank, now the headquarters of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
The highlight was the French oil on canvas “Still Life with Flowers” by avant-garde artist Emilie Charmy that realized $9,200 on the Internet. It went to a local collector of Charmy works.
Paintings evoked the most interest on the part of bidders. A group of Gruppe pictures by members of the family were offered. Of five works by Emile A. Gruppe that crossed the block, “Mount Mansfield” sold for $8,050, and the other four passed. Two did sell after the sale, however †”Hillside Birches” sold for $6,900 and “Vermont Stream and Woods” elicited $7,800.
A Florida oil on board scene, “Palm Trees,” by Robert Gruppe, son of Emile Gruppe, sold during the sale for $2,013.
The French oil on panel landscape, “La Saon pres Lironcourt” a Vosges scene by Jean Ferdinand Monchablon, brought $4,600 on the phone. “Sunset at Sea,” a florid coastal scene by Frederick Arthur Bridgeman, sold on the Internet for $3,450.
Another Cape Ann painting, “Gloucester Rocks,” a view of what appeared to be Bass Rocks, by Charles Allen Winter sold for $2,300. The painting hung in a Newcomb Macklin gilt frame.
A foggy view of Gloucester Harbor by Rockport artist Paul Strisik went for $3,450, and a beach scene gouache by Jane Peterson was a good value at $2,013.
An oil on canvas scene of a mother and child with a fuzzy rabbit by expatriate Boston artist William Perkins Babcock sold for $2,875. An unsigned New Hope school view of a house sold for $2,013. Fetching $3,450 was an oil on canvas still life with blue flowers by Pennsylvania artist Franklin Cenault Watkins.
A sandpaper painting depicting a whaling ship beneath the Northern Lights amid whales, a walrus and icebergs sold online for $2,415.
From eastern Massachusetts or Southern New Hampshire and dating from about 1720, a Pilgrim letter box was painted with a stylized tree and a stairway. The box retained old red paint and partial snipe hinges. It came from a Southern collection and sold for $4,313.
A Lancaster County, Penn., grain painted blanket chest with smoke decoration and nice dovetailing brought $1,150. A lot of two very similar painted Windsor chairs sold for $230.
Weathervanes included a molded and gilded copper eagle form example, which garnered $2,300, one in the form of the trotting horse Dexter, which also took $2,300, and a molded copper fox weathervane that went out at $1,725.
A large polychrome and gilt stern board went for $2,588.
A Russian three-piece tea set in gold wash included a teapot, a covered sugar and a creamer and brought $1,495. A Nineteenth Century French bronze figure of a heron and frogs realized $1,150, and a Nineteenth Century bronze “The Merchant of Venice” was signed indistinctly and sold for $1,150.
The sale offered an interesting mix of periods and styles: a dandy 1969 Fantasia cocktail table in bronze and pewter by Philip and Kelvin Laverne for Knapp and Tubbs Inc, was accompanied by the original advertising materials and sold for $2,300. “Sheaf of Wheat” table with a black marble top designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar sold for $1,150 after the sale.
Parked in front of the Georgian-style building, a snazzy blue 1955 Citroen Traction B11 in running order set the tone. It sold to the opening, absentee bid for a remarkable $11,500.
A Boston Federal mahogany work table with lunette inlay, attributed to John Seymour, fetched $1,725, while a Boston Federal mahogany side chair attributed to Thomas Seymour sold for $575. The company website noted that the Seymour attribution of the table had been made by Robert D. Mussey Jr.
Realizing $2,300 each after the sale were an Eighteenth Century Massachusetts oxbow slant lid desk and an Eighteenth Century New England Chippendale cherry slant lid desk.
From the 1930s, a French Art Deco wine cabinet sold for $1,840, and a similar pair of highly decorative cast zinc torchieres went for $1,150.
Loew and Demers Auctions Inc, is based in Wellesley, where Steven Demers manages things, and in Asheville, N.C., where Edward Loew is in charge. Their next sale is January 22 in Stamford, Conn., and they also plan to have sales in Asheville.
It is not easy being the new guys in town, but Loew and Demers made the best of it. Demers said that while about 40 percent of the lots passed, a number were sold just after the sale. Other passed lots and their prices were posted for sale on the website after the sale and some have sold since. The company website offers passed lots for sale for up to 30 days after an auction.
A substantial early Nineteenth Century Baltimore sideboard in crotched mahogany veneers appeared to sell for $3,450, but was apparently bought in because it was posted on the website several days after the sale as having sold for a far more reasonable $9,200.
A New York classical mahogany dining table that opened to accommodate six leaves, although only two were present, sold after the sale for $2,000, and a good looking set of eight classical-style dining chairs also sold after the auction †for $805.
All prices quoted reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 888-878-1828 or www.loewdemers.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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