Published: October 20, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Rockport Art Association & Museum
ROCKPORT, MASS. – On October 3, the Rockport Art Association and Museum (RAA&M) conducted its annual art auction, exclusively online for the first time through LiveAuctioneers, offering 213 lots by American artists. Now in its 35th year, the sale achieved a total of approximately $278,000, topping the 2019 sale total of $235,000, with 84 percent of lots selling. Of the works that sold, about 150 sold to online bidders with about 30 selling to absentee bidders, while two-thirds of works went to private collectors and the balance to dealers. The sale welcomed a few new bidders, one work sold to a buyer in Spain, while the rest were purchased by bidders in the United States.
The auction highlighted works from Cape Ann school artists, including Aldro T. Hibbard, Anthony Thieme, Emile Gruppe, Mabel May Woodward, Jane Peterson, W. Lester Stevens, Emma Fordyce MacRae, Antonio Cirino, William Meyerowitz, Charles Paul Gruppe, Paul Strisik, Marguerite S. Pearson, Harry A. Vincent, Agnes Richmond, Al Czerepak, Bernard Corey and Charles Movalli. The sale has evolved to include other artists from other regions.
The auctions have come to be a major fundraising event for the RAA&M, one that appears to be improving with each passing year.
“We presented a high-quality auction, with the selection this year being one of the finest collections we’ve offered. We are pleased that our collectors and patrons showed up online or left bids that ultimately made this auction a success for us,” said TM Nicholas, chairman of the auction committee and a RAA&M board member.
Leading the sale was “Painting at Pigeon Cove” by Philadelphia Ten artist Emma Fordyce MacRae (American, 1887-1974), which sold for $11,070 to a private collector. It was one of two works in the sale, with “Reflections, Fisherman’s Cove, Lanesville, Cape Ann” selling within estimate, for $5,605.
The auction began with a bequest by founding member Antonio Cirino (1888-1983), who left his artwork to the association with the stipulation that the art be auctioned to help support the organization. Though his collection has long since been dispersed, his works are perennial offerings in these annual events, with this edition featuring a total of eight works, including the second highest priced work in the sale – “Inner Harbor, Cape Ann” – which achieved $10,030 from a private collector bidding by absentee bid. Prices for the rest of his works ranged from $5,015 to $590, demonstrating the breadth in this event.
Rounding out the third highest price in the sale – $8,610 – for “Net Menders, Cape Anne” by Harry A. Vincent (1864-1931), which had a competition-inspiring estimate of $2/3,000, sold to a trade buyer bidding online.
Eight works by Aldro T. Hibbard (1886-1972) saw a broad range of results, including $7,670 for “Winter Light Near S. Londonderry, VT,” and $7,080 for “Boats in Gloucester Harbor” down to $708 for a mixed media drawing, from the estate of the artist titled “Valley Town.”
Charles Gruppe’s (1860-1940) “Rockport Dock” finished at $7,670, “After the Storm” by Anthony Thieme (1888-1954) flew to $7,080 and a “Woman in Red” by Marguerite Pearson (1898-1978) charmed bidders to realize $5,900.
Unsold works from the auction will be featured in a post-auction fundraising exhibition on view at RAA&M and on the website until November 8, providing an opportunity to view and purchase a selection of works that are still available from the auction to continue the fundraiser. The artwork will have a set price that includes the buyer’s premium.
Prices include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. RAA&M is at 12 Main Street. For information, www.rockportartassn.org or 978-546-6604.
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