Published: September 6, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Lotus International Auctions
GUILFORD, CONN. – Lotus International’s summer online-only auction on August 28 featured more than 400 lots of artworks and other unique items. A Modernist painting by Ojibwe artist George Morrison (1919-2000), titled “Subjugation,” led the sale, finishing at $40,625, a hefty premium above its $4/6,000 estimate. The painting had a substantial exhibition history, including 1946 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1947 at Rockport Art Association’s Summer Show, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and more.
An abstract oil on canvas by Karel Christiaan Appel (Dutch, 1921-2006) sold for $5,100. Appel was a painter from Amsterdam, Holland, whose father was a barber. He studied at the Royal Academy in Amsterdam in 1940-43, seeking to develop an impulsive, formal language based on life, in reaction to geometric academicism. In 1948, Appel joined CoBrA (coined by the Belgian poet Christian Dotremont from the initials of the members’ home countries’ capital cities: Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam). The consignor of this painting had other lots in this auction, such as a Gottfried Honneger tableau relief, a pair of Eames chairs and ottomans and a painting by Sonia Sekula.
An accomplished athlete, George Bellows (1882-1925) appropriately addressed the subject of sports. He was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he played baseball and basketball as a youth. His first love, however, was art, and after his junior year he relocated to New York to study painting. Soon he became the leading sports artist of his generation, a reputation fueled through boxing subjects such as “Stag at Sharkey’s.” In this sale, his “Counted out, 2nd Stone” (1921) lithograph went out at $4,500.
In addition to a large roster of Twentieth Century artists, the sale offered unique items including sculptures and Frankart ashtrays. The best selling of two iconic Charles and Ray Eames lounge chairs and ottomans on offer was bid to $3,120. Comprising the popular lounge chair 670 and ottoman 671, the lot featured the Charles and Ray Eames label on the bottom.
From the same consignor came a Midcentury Modern abstract by Sonia Sekula (1918-1963), signed and dated 1958 in pencil, the painting outperformed its $200/400 estimate, going out at $3,000. Born in Switzerland of a Swiss mother and a Hungarian father, Sekula came with her parents to the United States in 1936. She attended George Grosz’s private art school on Long Island and enrolled at the Art Students League, studying with Morris Kantor and Raphael Soyer. Having suffered with chronic bouts of mental illness, a failed love affair with a woman and the decline in acceptance of her work, she committed suicide in Switzerland. She is remembered as an important artist of the 1940s, an abstractionist in a time of Surrealism and Abstraction.
Also from this consignment was a Gottfried Honegger (Swiss, 1917-2016) tableau relief “Z580” (1969), which left the gallery at $3,000. The painter, sculptor and designer studied at the art academy in Zurich (1932) and first worked as a designer (1933-1936). From the age of 20, he concentrated on graphic and commercial art and it was not until 1957, with the creation of his first tableau-relief, that his career really began. This example, in acrylic and polyester, 60 by 40½ inches, was signed on verso by the artist.
Fetching $2,040 was “New England Countryside,” an oil on canvas by Chauncey Foster Ryder (American, 1868-1949), a Tonalist landscape painter, born in Danbury, Conn., later moving to Chicago where he began his artistic training at the Art Institute and at Smith’s Art Academy. Representing the Old Lyme School style, this painting showed off a summer white cloudy day. Framed, with a Greenwich Gallery label on the verso, the 12-by-16-inch painting was signed lower left.
Rounding out the sale’s top highlights was a Jean Dubuffet (French, 1901-1985) lithograph, “Le Braconnier, HC,” dated 1953, which also earned $2,040. From “Assemblages d’empreintes” (1953), it was signed in pencil lower right and measured 20 by 25½ inches.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house but may not include additional online bidding surcharges. For additional information, 203-689-5062 or www.lotusauction.com.
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