Published: August 1, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett; Images Courtesy Merrill’s Auctioneers and Appraisers
WILLISTON, VT. — Merrill’s Auctioneers and Appraisers conducted its Sporting, Adirondack and Fine Arts auction on July 21, presenting more than 600 lots of fine art from Vermont artists, Adirondack furniture, fishing accoutrements and firearms, Native American art and many other related objects from nearby estates. Works by known artists found the most favor with bidders, especially for paintings, sculpture and furniture.
Flying high to the top of the auction was a carved and painted group of two falcons on a cliff by Floyd Scholz (b 1958). It was signed, dated and numbered on the base, and titled “Arctic Royalty Gyr Falcons.” Scholz’s career as an artist, author and musician spans over 50 years, crediting much of his inspiration to raptors and birds of prey. In 1996 he opened the Vermont Raptor Academy, offering seminars at the Bennington Center for the Arts, where there is a permanent installation of Scholz’s work. The carving flew to $8,850.
Landscapes were especially popular with bidders. Second in overall price was “The Rushing Torrent” by Johann Wilhelm Lindlar (1816-1896) at $7,080. Although not specifically of the Vermont wilderness, the mountains, trees and flowing river could easily pass for such a terrain. In fact, it is unknown whether Lindlar, who studied at the Dusseldorf Academy between 1846 and 1848, ever visited the United States.
Two paintings by Vermont artist Charles Louis Heyde (1822-1892) followed in price. The first was signed and inscribed on the reverse, “Passage of the Black River/Ludlow/Vt.,” and was featured as Plate 132 in the Heyde catalogue raisonné by Nancy Price Graff and E. Thomas Pierce (2001). It was bid to $5,355. The second Heyde in the auction was Plate 135 in that catalog and titled “Waterfall” therein. With provenance, including the collection of Monsignor John McSweeney, the painting achieved $3,540.
The top gun of the auction was a Parker Brothers Grade 2 Damascus shotgun in overall excellent condition that was bid to $5,985. The shotgun barrel showed 1872, 1875 and 1876 patent dates above a serial number, and was decorated throughout with engravings of game birds.
Representing Native American art was an early Twentieth Century Navajo (Diné) handwoven rug, showing two rows of four yei figures, which are mediating figures between the Great Spirit and humans in their culture. The rug was in good condition and showed the original Fred Harvey dealer’s tag. Consigned by a descendent of Junius S. Morgan III (1892-1960), grandson of J. Pierpont Morgan, the rug achieved $4,095.
An unexpected top lot was an archive of correspondence once belonging to Dr Cornelius Agnew (1830-1888), a surgeon and founding member of the United States Sanitary Commission (USSC). Founded in 1861 by Henry Whitney Bellows, the USSC was a private relief agency created with federal legislation to support wounded and sick Union soldiers during the Civil War. The archive included business and personal correspondence, Agnew’s 1859 certificate of appointment as surgeon general of the state of New York, designs for his New York home, a letter from Gettysburg battlefield one year after the battle, documents relating to Mary Nash Agnew, Agnew’s wife and education commissioner for the City of New York. The archive collected $3,835.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For additional information, 802-878-2625 or www.merrillsauction.com.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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