Published: May 4, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy of Tremont Auctions
SUDBURY, MASS. – Tremont Auctions conducted its annual spring auction on April 25 offering nearly 600 lots drawn from local estates and collections. It was the firm’s first sale of the year to include a full public preview, which ran from April 21 through sale day.
The main draw for the auction were the more than 200 lots of paintings and prints that were from the hands of significant artists. A local estate contributed two paintings by Vietnamese artist Le Pho (1907-2001), both of which had been collected from a Paris gallery, and a large Korean abstract oil by Wook-Kyung Choi (1940-1985).
It was this painting from a local estate that led the sale by selling for $45,720. “The Rainy Day in July,” 1966, was signed and dated upper right and titled with a New York address on reverse. In a thin silver leaf frame, the oil on canvas measured 40 by 34 inches.
Wook-Kyung Choi graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University in 1963, shortly after moving to the United States to expand her education and artistic career. She studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and received her masters in fine arts from the Brooklyn Museum School of Art. From 1968 to 1971, she taught painting at Franklin Pierce College as an assistant professor. She continued her career as an artist and professor after she returned to Korea in 1978, teaching at Yeungnam University and later at Duksung Women’s University. Throughout her short yet prolific artistic career until her death at the age of 45, she was most known for her association with Abstract Expressionism and Pop art.
Not far behind the Korean oil were two works by Le Pho, Vietnam, which brought $35,000 and $33,000, respectively, from the same bidder, collectively totaling $82,960. The first painting, “Dans le Jardin,” an original oil on linen canvas or silk mounted on Masonite, depicted girls in a garden. Estimated $12/18,000, it was framed, signed lower left and bore a Galerie Romanet – Paris label on the reverse with title and inventory numbers. It was dated in chalk 8/9/62 when this painting was purchased by the consignor’s grandmother and measured 19 by 15 inches.
The second Le Pho, similarly presented with a $12/18,000 estimate, was titled “Mere et Enfant,” or Mother and Child in a Garden. It bore the same Galerie Romanet – Paris label on reverse and chalk inscription date of purchase, and it also measured 19 by 15 inches.
Highlights included two 4-carat diamond rings. A lady’s 4.7-carat solitaire emerald cut diamond and platinum ring brought $39,270. The main diamond was flanked by two rectangular cut baguettes. The other was a lady’s 4.05-carat solitaire pear cut diamond platinum ring. Its band was encrusted with 14 graduated small round cut diamonds and beaded border decoration.
Many silk needlework pictures and samplers, some from a Dedham, Mass., estate, and a Boston embroidery dated 1757 from a Braintree, Mass., estate were offered. Fetching $21,366, the Boston needlework embroidery depicted a large house with a couple in the front lawn, the man playing an instrument. Surrounded by sheep, cows, birds and flowers, the scene was done by Sarah Livermore. It was framed under glass and titled upper right center “Sarah Livermore’s work 1757.” It was probably in its original frame and backboard and bore an inscription on reverse “George W ?. 26 Ash street, Braintree” and measured 15 by 18½ inches.
An 1842 sampler, possibly from Kingston, Jamaica, was bid to $5,588. Embroidered by Rachel Catherine van Akeng?, age 12. Kingston, May 1842, it portrayed a Black figure walking among chickens by a house with a figure firing a musket and goat or sheep nearby. There were cornucopia and lyre motifs in the sky centering a six-line verse bordered by a floral garland. It was framed under glass and measured 18¾ by 26 inches.
There was more fine art, including a collection of Hudson River School paintings gathered from a Southern collector that had a John W.A. Scott painting of Mount Washington from Conway, N.H. The oil on canvas was framed in a regilt Nineteenth Century Hudson River-style frame. Signed lower right and measuring 21 by 29 inches, it realized $4,522.
Various Old Master paintings, drawings and other artwork crossed the block, the leading piece a Vatican Workshop micromosaic plaque of “Raphael,” which earned $15,240. It had been framed in the early Twentieth Century. A letter accompanying this lot and a mosaic of Christ that was also in this sale, stated that the plaques came from the Vatican Museum and were given as gifts to the owner by Monsigno Kass, head of the Vatican public works. It further stated that the “Raphael” plaque was done by a Professor Cascio, who was then in 1945 in his eighties.
Outperforming its $800-$1,200 estimate, a Julian Onderdonk winter landscape with a red barn by a road finished at $8,255. The oil on panel, framed, signed lower right and measuring 13½ by 17½ inches, was inscribed on reverse: “A January morning near [illegible]” with artist name and dated 1909.
And contributing a colorful Modern splash to the sale was Robert Motherwell’s “Red Samurai,” 1987, a color lithograph on paper that rose to $4,880. It was pencil signed with initials lower right with edition: AP VII/X and framed under glass in a shadowbox-style frame.
A selection of daguerreotypes and early photography included two by orotone master Edward Curtis. One of these, “The Scout Apache,” signed lower right in gold, brought $4,760. Separately, a daguerreotype of an inn went out at $3,570.
Among the furniture highlights, a Gothic tall clock acquired from a local estate took $10,795, and a set of Gothic Revival oak chairs changed hands at $5,826.
Fine silver and estate jewelry comprised 150 lots of the sale. Notable items included an ornate Crichton Bros sterling silver tea set that sold for $8,255 and a Tiffany enameled dish bringing $7,735.
Additional highlights featured a French Jumeau doll, $4,879; a Grand Tour bronze sculpture of “Seneca,” $3,810, and, from a collection of Native American beadworks and artifacts, a large Northwest Coast spirit mask at $2,794.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, www.tremontauctions.com or 617-795-1678.
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