Published: July 7, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers
MILFORD, CONN. – Once the gavel fell on the last artwork in Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers online-only 185-lot fine art sale on June 25, and post-auction sales were transacted in the days immediately following the sale, Shannon’s co-owner Sandra Germain announced that the sale had brought a total of approximately $480,000, with 75 percent of lots finding buyers. She noted increased online traffic and an influx of new bidders while also being impressed with Shannon’s existing clients who quickly pivoted to become comfortable with the online model.
“We are happy with the results of the sale,” she said when Antiques and The Arts Weekly reached her the week after the auction. “We saw strength in the market all across the board, works from the Nineteenth Century through Contemporary saw a lot of activity. We can feel the pulse; there’s been a lot of concern about all business but we feel the art market is maintaining itself.” Germain commented that good quality, well-priced works “will always sell,” acknowledging that while postwar works in the global market are still the most popular, she has seen more interest among collectors in Nineteenth Century material.
The sale offered a somewhat hybridized version of Shannon’s usually larger full-catalog sales and their online-only events, with this edition being larger than their typical online auctions. The majority of works were American and private collectors were the predominant buyers. While previewing the sale was by appointment only and limited to one person or couple at a time, the sale was by absentee or online bid only and did not include any in-room or phone bidding. “We did video and Facetime previews and we took a lot of additional photos so we were able to really address our buyer’s needs while doing the best job for our consignors.” Having said that, Germain acknowledged that while they were looking forward to welcoming clients back, Shannon’s was prioritizing the safety of their staff and clients and proceeding cautiously.
A desirable characteristic behind many of the successful results was the presence and treatment of sunshine or light within compositions. Topping the sale was “Sunlit Doorway” by Abbott Fuller Graves (American, 1859-1936), which sold to an absentee bidder for $25,000, underbid by a private collector. The work, which was in a Newcomb-Macklin frame and consigned from a private California collection, had been estimated at $12/18,000 and measured 30 by 25 inches. Germain attributed the result to the larger-than-typical size of the painting and the light depicted, which she characterized as “fabulous.”
A frequent sight in a Shannon’s sale are works by Connecticut artist, Eric Sloane (1905-1985), whose “Red Barn” was a quintessential scene that appeals to collectors. A trade buyer, bidding on behalf of a client, paid $20,000, the second highest price in the sale. Germain said the work was well rendered with really pleasing light and shadows.
Rounding out the leaderboard and selling to a private collector for $20,000 was a view of the Roman Aqueducts in Segovia, Spain by Colin Campbell Cooper (American, 1856-1937). Germain said the movement and activity in the scene was “a real bonus,” noting that the view of daily life really resonated with people.
A small highly detailed still life by Claude Raguet Hirst (American, 1855-1942) brought $14,300 from a private collector. “The detail was amazing; it was probably one of the best I’ve seen,” Germain said. Another work of more intimate scale was a view of Queensborough Bridge that Johann Berthelsen (American, 1883-1972) painted “en plein aire.” It sold for $12,500.
Prices quoted include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Shannon’s next sale is September 17 and features premier, fresh-to-the-market works, including a selection of art from the collection of Jeanne and Carroll Berry.
Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers is at 49 Research Drive. For additional information, www.shannons.com or 203-877-1711.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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