Published: May 31, 2011
An impressive sales total of more than $5 million was realized for an impressive selection of paintings at Shannon’s auction of fine American and European paintings, drawings and sculpture conducted on April 28. The 250-plus works offered spanned the genres of art ranging from Old Masters to Pop.
Auction house principal Gene Shannon was pleased with the prices achieved during the auction, and while the results of the auction were typical of a Shannon’s event, it was a sale that he described as “truly different. We entered a new realm for Shannon’s by offering a large collection of Pop/1960s art from a nonprofit corporation that was largely unseen in public since the 1960s,” conveyed Shannon. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerald Laing, John Wesley, Robert Smithson and R.M. Watts, along with a plethora of others, decorated the walls of the gallery in a colorful manner that was very new to the location.
The majority of the Pop paintings once belonged to the noted American collectors John and Kimiko Powers, whose early support of these artists proved crucial in establishing Pop art as an important postwar aesthetic movement. Similarly, in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century category, nearly all of the art came from private collectors, estates, a corporate collection and museums.
While the Pop art did well, it was the mainstream art that Shannon’s has firmly established its reputation upon that did exceedingly well. Leading an impressive group of Hudson River School works was Louis Rémy Mignot’s oil on canvas titled “Travelers in a Tropical Landscape.” The Luminist work was featured on the back cover of the catalog and was termed a “rediscovered masterpiece based on his 1857 trip across Ecuador with Frederic Church.” Executed in New York between 1860 and 1862, the painting sold for $516,000, nearly doubling the previous record price paid for the artist at auction.
A work by another revered Hudson River School artist, Sanford Gifford, also attracted a great deal of attention as “Bend in the Juniata River” was offered. Shannon termed the painting a “gem” prior to the auction; the public apparently agreed as it easily surpassed the $70/100,000 estimate, bringing $204,000. “Lake Champlain,” another Luminist work by Gifford, sold between estimates at $84,000.
John F. Peto’s “Self-Portrait with Rack Picture,” one of the artist’s most exhibited paintings, was another lot to attract substantial interest from collectors. Estimated at $50/75,000, the picture climbed to $156,000.
Figurative works also sold well, with Mary Bradish Titcomb’s oil “Two Girls, Old Lyme” selling for a record price paid at auction for the artist of $120,000, while Charles Hopkinson’s “The Piazza Door,” a portrait of his daughter, realized $108,000.
Walter Launt Palmer’s oil “November Snow” listed a provenance of a private Oregon collection and it realized $114,000. A Surreal tempera on board by Salvador Dali, titled “Personnage Dionysiaque Faisant Du Voilier,” listed a private collection from Buffalo and a 1989 Christie’s auction as provenance. It sold for $108,000.
An Abbott Fuller Graves portrait of a woman in a late Nineteenth Century-style dress holding onto the wire railing of a steamer at sea did well, surpassing estimate at $96,000.
Works by David Burliuk also did well, with “Woman with Watering Can,” consigned from a private Long Island collection where it has been since the early 1980s, selling at $40,800, and his “Under the Moon” more than doubling its estimate as it realized $16,800.
A stunning still life, “Raspberries and Cherries,” by Levi Prentice was actively bid to $36,000. Listing a museum exhibition history of “Nature Staged,” the painting also carried a provenance of the Alexander Gallery.
A nice trompe l’oeil oil on panel by Otis Kaye was humorously titled “Gun Fight Today O. Kaye’s Corral.” Depicting currency, pistols from a variety of periods, bullets and match sticks, the painting sold well above estimate at $72,000.
Fans of the Pop art had to wait until the mainstream assortment of art was sold. Comprising the final 50-plus lots of the auction, the material was extremely well received. Listed as the “property of a nonprofit organization,” all but three of the lots were received as gifts from the Powerses, influential collectors who began collecting in the 1960s and were close friends with many of the artists, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
The selection of Pop opened with Warhol’s screen print “Jackie II,” which doubled the high estimate, bringing $12,300. “Jackie III” was next and it also surpassed estimate, selling at $19,200.
Two works by John Wesley did well, with an acrylic on canvas on wood table, appropriately titled “Table,” soaring past the $12/18,000 estimate to bring $60,000. “Suitcase,” an oil on suitcase depicting a nude woman by Wesley, more than tripled estimate, selling at $84,000.
Roy Lichtenstein’s color screen print “Reverie” achieved $120,000, against a $40/60,000 estimate.
Two Gerald Laing oils attracted a great deal of attention, with “Dragster” selling well above the $7/10,000 estimate as it reached $78,000, and “Number 71” soared past the $6/9,000 estimate to realize $96,000.
Theodoros Stamos’s oil on Masonite “Venetian Mirror” sold for $120,000, Marisol Escobar’s “Zoot” brought $90,000, and Allan D’Arcangelo’s acrylic on canvas “Straight Ahead” sold at more than ten times the estimate, bringing $84,000.
Termed a “terrific success” by the gallery, the sale adds to Shannon’s reputation, making it a “leading venue for postwar Modernism and Pop art.”
Prices include the buyer’s premium charged. For further information, 203-877-1711 or www.shannons.com .
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