Published: December 6, 2016
Review by Jackie Sideli, Catalog Photos Courtesy Eldred’s
EAST DENNIS, MASS. — Eldred’s annual fall Americana and paintings auction November 17–19 offered nearly 1,200 lots, led by a sensational carved Northwest Coast beaver-form bowl, offered on day one that attained $42,000, well over its modest $900–$1,200 estimate to make it the sale’s top lot overall.
Beautifully carved, with mellow patina, the bowl dates to the late Nineteenth Century. Bill Bourne, vice president of the firm and head of the Americana department, said of the bowl, “I loved it when it came in. It is a rare piece with great patina and unusual form, and it brought an incredibly good price.”
Day one featured decoys, bird carvings and sporting art, as well as illustration art, American Native material, books, photography and ephemera. Session two featured silver, European and decorative arts, textiles, Oriental rugs, maritime art, scrimshaw, Chinese Export and American folk art. Session three featured the Jack Lichtenstein collection of fine art, as well as folk art and Americana, Oriental rugs, clocks and sculpture.
Other top lots included an Emile Albert Gruppe (1896–1978) oil on canvas, “Unloading the Nets,” performing above estimate at $15,600 and a Max Kuehne oil on board painting, “Church Gloucester,” selling within estimate to a phone buyer on the last day for $9,600. The Kuehne work had provenance to the Hirschl & Adler Galleries and was found in a private collection in Maine.
“We continue to see a strong demand for Cape Ann art, as evidenced by the Gruppe,” said Joshua Eldred, company president and head of the fine arts department. “But I was particularly pleased to see a lot of active bidding and sale prices on many of the furniture lots.”
Among the furniture highlights was a circa 1830 pier table, possibly New York, that sold late in the auction. It had a modest estimate of $1,5/2,000, but action from several phone bidders and floor bidders drove the price to $5,700. Also doing well were a 1760 Queen Anne highboy, selling within estimate for $2,500, and an assembled set of D.R. Dimes Windsor-style chairs, which more than tripled estimate at $2,200.
Highlighting the maritime art section of the sale was an unsigned Chinese view of the Hongs at Canton, with Spanish, American, English and Dutch flags, Nineteenth Century. After a brisk round of competitive bidding, the painting exceeded its $8/12,000 estimate to bring $21,600 from a phone buyer. The painting had provenance to the noted Herreshoff boat building family.
The maritime art offerings featured 74 lots from the Howland Scrimshaw collection, led by a carved whalebone busk, decorated with three vignettes of women and geometric designs. At 13 inches long, it earned $8,400.
Another carved scrimshaw whalebone busk had depictions of birds and a butterfly, with a well-defined geometric border, $5,100. An unusual vase made from a whale’s tooth, with turned whale ivory stem and base, decorated with ebony banding, sold for $5,100.
The collection mainly had utilitarian items such as swifts, rolling pins and sewing items.
“These were far more moderate pieces in comparison with the Mittler Scrimshaw collection we sold during our maritime art auction in October,” Bourne said, “but the interest in the pieces was strong and the prices were solid. It is great to see the enthusiasm of the scrimshaw collectors, and we are excited about the scrimshaw we have in upcoming auctions.” More lots from the Mittler Scrimshaw collection, as well as other important pieces of maritime art will be offered during the firm’s spring Americana auction.
The sale also included 50 lots from the Jack Lichtenstein collection of paintings and prints, auctioned to benefit the Lichtenstein Family Endowment for Hepatology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Highlights from the expansive collection included five prints by Thomas Hart Benton that sold for a combined $10,600; “Funeral” by Frank Stella from the “Moby Dick Domes” series, at $11,400; “The Entertainer” by Robert Longo for $2,000; and two paintings by Provincetown artist Henry Hensche for $2,600 and $3,250.
Other top paintings included a genre painting by Charles Drew Cahoon (Cape Cod, 1861–1951) depicting a young boy watching an older gentleman repair his windmill toy, which brought $13,200, doubling its low estimate; a Dutch landscape by George Hitchcock, which doubled its estimate at $6,600, and “Mother and Child – A Study from Nature” by Benjamin West (American English, 1738–1820), which soared past its estimate to finish at $5,400. A collection of five carved and painted wooden dogs by folk artist Moise Potvin (Canadian American, 1876–1948), from a private Rhode Island collection, sold within estimate for $5,400.
Sterling silver presented at the sale included the circa 1920 New York Theodore B. Starr sterling silver loving cup tennis trophy. The trophy was in urn form, with three handles elaborately decorated with acanthus leaves and floral garlands. The urn was inscribed “Eastern Lawn Tennis Association Trophy Men’s Singles Championship of Long Island.” The urn measured 11 inches tall, weighed 95.6 troy ounces and sold for $3,120. A Tiffany and Co. cast sterling silver cigar box, with a hinged cover and decorated with four birds brought $1,440. A Tiffany Studios Favrile glass mosque lamp, New York, Twentieth Century, which was signed “LCT Favrile” fetched $1,375.
An oil on canvas by New Jersey/New York artist Arthur Hoeber (1854–1915), “Figure on a rural road,” crossed the block late in the sale at $3,120. Plenty of interest was shown for a framed still life with fruit, Nineteenth Century. With phone bidders and left bids, the selling price achieved was $4,200. There were a number of paintings by Cape favorite Anne Packard (b 1933), including a Cape Cod seascape, an oil on canvas, which brought $5,000. There was lots of action for Packard’s oil on board “Catboat at Sea.” It measured 5 by 7 inches, and was signed “A Packard” on the lower left. The painting made $1,440. Another signed Packard work was “Dune Scene,” which brought $1,020.
Among the fine Oriental rugs on offer were a Heriz with navy blue, salmon red, light blue and gold gabled medallion and pendants, with colorful turtle motifs throughout the border, $2,760, and a Bidjar having a midnight blue field with Herati designs in turquoise, light blue, pink, red, brown and tan, 12 feet 8 inches by 20 feet 3 inches, that seemed like a good buy at $2,520.
Other paintings sold included an oil on board by Mark Meunier, “House on the Island (Monhegan),” signed and dated 1993, with a palette of greens, blues and greys, $1,875. A number of signed paintings by Arthur Vidal Diehl (1870–1929) were sold the final day, including “Moroccan Harbor Scene,” an oil on board from 1928, going for $2,000 and “Clipper Ship Returning from a Voyage,” also 1928, went out at $1,440.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
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