Published: July 5, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers
MILFORD, CONN. – Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers, which since 1997 has enjoyed the reputation as Connecticut’s premier fine art auction house, is known for its rich cataloged sales of American and European Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century paintings, but on June 23 it conducted a smaller offering, just 148 lots, online-only. So the sale total, a bit over $200,000, reflected that and posted an 80 percent sell-through rate. Two platforms, Invaluable and Shannon’s own, were utilized with about 200 registered on the firm’s website.
“Now Man Good Human Being,” 1985, an oil on canvas by Alex Grey (American, b 1953), headlined the sale, selling to a private Florida collector. The 32-by-32-inch painting depicting a visible man-like human head, was estimated $2/3,000 but did much better, finishing at $21,590. Signed and dated lower right “Alex Grey 1985,” it was titled and inscribed on the reverse “04/14/85 started / 04/21/85 finished.” Alex Grey is a visual artist, author, teacher and Vajrayana practitioner known for creating spiritual and psychedelic paintings. He works in multiple forms, including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture visionary art and painting.
From a private Massachusetts collection and having descended in the family which got it directly from the artist came Eric Sloane’s (American, 1905-1985) oil on Masonite painting “The Old Covered Bridge, Conway, New Hampshire.” Signed lower right “Sloane,” and inscribed lower left “Conway, NH,” it was signed and inscribed on the reverse “Brookfield Conn.” The 20-by-24-inch painting found a buyer at $13,970 against a $6/8,000 estimate. A landscape painter, illustrator and author of illustrated books on the cultural history and folklore of America, Sloane relished painting portraits of weathered barns, rural bridges, farmhouses and other rural landmarks. The Eric Sloane Museum & Kent Iron Furnace is operated by the state of Connecticut to showcase Sloane’s original artwork, a reproduction of his studio and his collection of early American tools. Sloane’s gravesite is also located on the museum’s property in Kent, Conn.
A painting by American artist Jenness Cortez (b 1944) got bidders’ hearts racing. “Saratoga Horse Race,” 1978, an oil on canvas, 36¼ by 32 inches sold just over high estimate at $9,525. It came from a private New York collection, was signed and dated lower right “Cortez ©1978” and measured 36¼ by 32 inches. A distinguished figure in the contemporary revival of classical realist painting, Cortez was born in Indiana and exhibited a very early talent for art. With animals as her primary subject matter for 20 years (1977-1996) she became world renown for skillfully portraying horses — most notably, thoroughbred racehorses.
Surpassing its $1,5/2,500 estimate, James Jeffrey Grant’s (American, 1883-1960) oil on canvasboard dockyard scene, “Railways, Vincent’s Cove, Gloucester,” 16 by 14 inches, finished at $7,500. In the top tier of North Shore painters handled by Vose Galleries for generations, nearly all of Grant’s paintings are from the Cape Ann area.
Additional highlights in the sale included Thomas M. Nicholas’ (American, b 1963) “Shrimp Boats, Beaufort S.C.,” a 2009 oil on canvas, 30 by 40 inches, which was bid to $5,625; a portrait, “Boys with Drums & Soldier Hat,” 1878, by George Henry Story (American, 1835-1923), an oil on panel, 14 by 11-7/8 inches selling at $5,397; a wintry scene by Aldro Thompson Hibbard (American, 1886-1972), “Snow Along the River Bank,” oil on canvas, 22 by 32 inches going out for $5,080; and from Ukrainian artist David Davidovic Burljuk (1882-1967), “The Rio Grande, N.M.,” oil on canvas, 16 by 24 inches, earning $5,200.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Shannon’s will host a full catalog sale on October 27. For information, 203-877-1711 or www.shannons.com.
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