Published: September 7, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by R. Scudder Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy James D. Julia, Inc.
FAIRFIELD, MAINE — The catalog weighted 4.96 pounds, ran 656 pages and listed 1,840 lots to be sold over a three-day period, August 24–26, at James D. Julia. “Overall, the auction went very well with some highs that we expected, and some lots that did not do as well as we had hoped,” Jim Julia, president of the firm, said. He added that “the sale brought in just over $5.2 million and we set a record with 5,900 registered online bidders representing 48 countries.” Registered house bidders totaled 729.
All prices noted in this review include the buyer’s premium.
Paintings and a few pieces of sculpture took up day one on Wednesday, selling lots from 1000 to 1665. On Thursday, Americana took center stage, beginning with lot 2000 and ending at 2603. On Friday, the final day, Victorian furniture, a couple pages of doorstops, some Indian objects, a few lamps and Asian pieces numbered from 3000 up, with 584 lots.
Early in the sale several works by Andrew Newell Wyeth were offered, including lot 1015, “River Greys,” a watercolor housed in a gilt-edge wood frame with double mat, signed lower right and measuring 14¼ by 20¼ inches sight. With a high estimate of $40,000, it brought $66,952. Several lots later, an oil on canvas by Abbott Fuller Graves, “A Hot Shoe,” signed and inscribed lower right and measuring 32 by 46 inches sight, sold just over the high estimate for $41,475. This painting depicted a blacksmith at work beside a large white horse.
A trio of nautical paintings by Jack Lorimer Gray was offered, with lot 1101, “Maine Lobsterman” an oil on canvas board measuring 22 by 30 inches sight, bringing $17,775, within estimate. Emile Albert Gruppe (American, 1896–1978) was well represented in the auction with close to two dozen works, including “Gloucester Sunlit Cove – Rocky Neck,” a signed lower right oil on canvas measuring 25 by 30 inches sight. It was listed as the ex John Gale Collection of Cambridge, Mass., and sold for $22,575, with a high estimate of $16,000.
Close to a dozen works by Arthur Meltzer (American, 1893-1989) crossed the block, including “Once A Barn,” a signed oil on canvas measuring 20 by 24 inches sight that sold for $8,887, just over the low estimate. Connecticut artist Eric Sloane was represented by several works, including one of his well-known covered bridge scenes, “Afternoon Shadows On Red Covered Bridge,” an oil on Masonite and signed lower left. It measures 23¾ by 41 inches sight and sold for $14,220, within estimate.
Among the sculpture in the sale was “Girl With Roller Skate” by Abastenia St Leger Eberle (American, 1878–1942), signed bronze with brown patina, 13 inches high, that went for $20,145, exceeding the $15,000 high estimate. Several pieces of pottery by Pablo Picasso were offered, with “Vase With Goats,” white pottery with goat looking back at a tree, 7-3/8 inches high and 9¼ inches in diameter, bringing $18,960, better than twice the high estimate. A pen and ink wash on paper, en grisaille, by Frederic Remington, “Trail Riders,” sold within estimate at $23,107. It was in very good condition, signed lower center, and measures 16 by 24 sight.
The “Portrait De Fillette” by Zao Wou-Ki (American/Chinese/French, 1920–2013), a lithograph, pencil signed, sold over the $6,000 high estimate at $10,072. It measures 16½ by 12¾ inches and is in very good condition. “Sunlit Studio,” an oil on canvas by Irving Ramsey Wiles, housed in a wide, carved wood and gilt frame with artist and title plaque, measuring 25 by 24 inches sight, sold at $10,665, twice the high estimate. An oil on canvas depicting a tall ship under full sail, housed in a modern gilt frame and signed lower right “Charles Vickery,” 20 by 30 inches sight, went for $4,740, over the $3,500 high estimate.
Day one of the auction ended at 5:10 pm with a lot of six decorative prints and paintings selling within estimate for $145.
Day two kicked off shortly after 10 am with a handled silver mug by Hester Bateman, 5 inches tall, baluster form with leaf capped scroll handle and standing on a splayed foot, selling for $1,066, over the $600 high estimate. Several lots later a Georgian sterling two-handled tray by William Bennett, London, 1797–98, hallmarked “WB,” 22 inches wide, went for $2,962, just shy of the high estimate.
Standing at the back of the gallery was a life-size copper figure of a sailor waving his cap, 84½ inches tall including the base, last half of the Twentieth Century, which went out at just over the high estimate with a $4,147 bid, and it was followed by an antique double shell sailor’s valentine, 10 inches high and 20 inches wide when open, one side showing an eight-pointed star and the other side with a heart in the center surrounded by circles. Two bidders battled it out and exceeded the $2,000 high estimate, one finally paying $4,400.
A Boston William and Mary walnut gateleg table, first half of the Eighteenth Century, property of a Maine/Texas collector, sold for $23,700, just under the low estimate, and a large leaping stag molded copper weathervane, 54¾ inches long, early Twentieth Century and attributed to E.G. Washburne & Co., New York, sold at the high estimate for $15,405. A figured mahogany blocked end, reverse serpentine chest of drawers, circa 1770, Massachusetts, top with molded edge, well-defined claw feet, period brasses, sold just under the high estimate for $4,470. A portrait of a young girl in a blue dress, attributed to William Matthew Prior (American, 1806–1873), 14 by 11 sight, housed in a period paint decorated frame, went within estimate at $13,035.
A large quill weathervane with verdigris surface, last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, New England, 52 inches long, went slightly over the high estimate, selling for $6,517, and a Nineteenth Century, 5-foot-square Confederate battle flag marked on hoist by Thomas Alexander Brander, who was artillerist in the Virginia artillery, army of Northern Virginia. It sold for $3,332, just under the low estimate. Selling for $16,590, within estimate, was a folk art carved Abraham Lincoln inspired inlaid walnut wall mirror, American, third quarter of the Nineteenth Century, with spreadwing eagle on the top and the image of Lincoln in a circle at the bottom. It measures 46 inches high and 27 inches at its widest part.
A historic New England long fowler, inscribed and dated 1776, was used by Benjamin Baldwin at the Battle of Bunker Hill and deaccessioned by the Rochester Historical Society. This classic dates from the early Eighteenth Century and has an “as found” attic appearance. With a high estimate of $8,000, it sold for $13,627. A few lots later a pair of tabletop globes by J. Wilson & Sons, Albany, N.Y., terrestrial and celestial, brought $11,850, within estimate. It took a bid of $18,960 to win the silhouette portrait by Auguste Edouart of the Dr John Clarke family, circa 1840, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It is signed and dated in the center of the portrait beneath the figure of the young lady.
Offered as lots 2244 and 2245 was a pair of rare architectural carved and painted pigeon heads dating from the early Nineteenth Century and originally fixtures at the Pigeon Cove Inn in Knob, Maine. The first one sold for $8,887, while the second brought $9,480. Each carried a presale estimate of $2,500–3,500. There are eight of these figures, each numbered in Roman numerals carved on the back, and today a pair of them is owned by Shelburne Museum and another pair is in a Connecticut collection.
A series of three nautical paintings by Thomas M. Hoyne (American, 1924–1989) was offered in a row, with the first lot, 2276, “Parting The Crest Helen G. Wells At Gloucester” oil on canvas, signed lower right, measuring 30 by 38 inches, that sold for $41,475 against a $15,000-25,000 presale estimate. (All three of the paintings had the same estimate). The next lot, “Taking A Bath On Georges,” oil on canvas, 30 by 40 inches sight, signed lower right, sold for $41,475, and the third painting, “Five To Port — 1983,” oil on Masonite, was accompanied by three sketches of “Five To Port” and sold for $53,325. The provenance listed a private Maine/Texas collector.
A custom benchmade ship’s wheel table, circa 1896, “American Engineering Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania” signed in the circular hub plate, had a high estimate of $1,200 and sold for $3,851. The diameter of the wheel measures 60 inches, the glass top measures 61 inches in diameter. A John Haley Bellamy eagle with shield wall plaque, late Nineteenth Century, 26 inches wide, went for $2,666, within estimate, and a Gothic copper roof finial of a dragon, late Nineteenth Century, 35½ inches high, brought $7,110, above the $6,000 high estimate. It was made by W.H. Mullins, Salem, Ohio.
Selling for just short of three times the high estimate at $14,220 was a Federal inlaid mahogany cylinder rolltop secretary in the manner of Thomas Seymour, early Nineteenth Century, Boston, in two parts and measuring 89½ inches high, 42¼ inches wide and 22½ inches deep. It retains the original surface with undisturbed patina.
A rare pair of Federal mahogany and satin birch card tables, circa 1790, were probably Maine, each table with half serpentine ends and elliptic front, on tapering square legs with string inlay and crossbanded cuffs. The high estimate was $12,000 and the pair sold for $18,960. A salesman sample canoe, 48 inches long, was painted turquoise blue with white lettering on the side for “White Boat Co.” The boat hung in the showroom at the Hartley’s Marina on Sebago Lake in Raymond, Maine. It carried a high estimate of $10,000 and sold just under for $9,480.
Fifteen phones were in service when lot 2449, a French Empire ormolu patinated bronze mantel clock, first quarter of the Nineteenth Century, Paris, came up and bidding drove the price up to $17,775 against a high estimate of $3,000. This mantel clock in neoclassical taste with elements of Egyptian Revival styling featured a seated female archer in feathered headdress and feathered skirt, wearing gold beaded necklace, armbands and wristbands. It measures 18¼ inches high.
A folk art patriotic eagle hooked rug from a home in Brooklyn, Maine, showed an eagle with shield against a pattern of red stripes and surrounded by a border of gold stars on a blue ground. The high estimate was $700, but strong interest in this piece took the final bid to $3,851.
The third day of this annual summer sale included a mixed lot of objects, running from Victorian furniture to silver, lamps to glass, Quimper to doorstops, Indian objects to music boxes, and many lots of Asian material. Two catalog pages of Victorian wicker got the ball rolling on Friday morning, with an oak and wicker fancy stand by Heywood Bros & Co., Gardner, Mass., leading off and selling for $414, within estimate. Two lots later, a Victorian fancy wicker and oak round stand, 30 inches high, 25 inches in diameter, extensive bead and wicker decoration throughout, the legs ending in brass capped caster feet, sold for $1,777, above the $1,200 high estimate.
A large lot of 271 pieces of sterling silver flatware, including a 178-piece assembled set in the King-style pattern, sold over the $2,000 high estimate for $5,332. Bringing the same price was “The Great American Eagle,” a sterling silver piece by Gilroy Roberts (American, 1905–1992). This sculpture was marked on the back of the base “109/200” and was cast in sterling silver by the Franklin Mint. A pair of oak Arts and Crafts revival floor lamps with mica shades by Aurora Studios, Troy, N.Y., dating from the late Twentieth Century, went well over the $600 high estimate to bring $2,844. The lamps measure 56 inches high and came out of a private collection in Massachusetts.
A Tlingit totem pole, dating from the early Twentieth Century, is attributed to Charles James and measures 17 inches high. It is carved and polychromed and depicts figures including bird, man and fish. The final bid was $5,332, within estimate. A lot of Quimper planters, five in the form of ducks, one in the form of a shoe and one shaped like a quarter moon, sold within estimate at $3,258, while a 79-piece blue and white Wedgwood dinner service in the Ferrara pattern brought $2,073.
A portion of the Indian pieces in the sale included a Sioux beaded teepee bag, late Nineteenth Century, 23 inches wide and 13½ inches high, for $2,962; two Plains-style knife sheaths with trade knives brought $2,962, and a Plains pipe tomahawk with burnt file decoration from the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century. It retains its hide and tack decoration, measures 21½ inches long, and brought $1,659, within estimate. A Kwakiutl stylized Shaman figure, late Nineteenth Century, carved cedar with red and black painted highlights, 16 inches high, went well over the $6,000 high estimate, bringing $20,145.
A lead fountain of figural group with swan and youth, third quarter of the Nineteenth Century, possibly New York, about 46 inches high, sold at close to twice the high estimate at $7,702. Another fountain in the sale, a cast iron and zinc garden fountain, along with 53 pieces of cast iron garden edging, brought $4,443, over the $3,500 high estimate. This lot was probably by Fiske or Mott, New York City, circa 1880.
About a dozen doorstops were in the sale, including a Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, 1920–30, 21¼ inches high, American, with the original paint, that went for $1,540, just over the low estimate; an African American man seated on cotton bale, circa 1920, that went under the low estimate, selling for $1,540; the standing butler, cast iron with the original paint, circa 1920, Bradley & Hubbard Foundry, for $1,422, just under the low estimate, and a large rabbit doorstop, circa 1920, Bradley & Hubbard Foundry, untouched painted surface, for $2,370, within estimate.
Lot 3500, the start of the Asian section, began with an orange Fitzhugh tureen with underplate, Nineteenth Century, China, hand painted with twist strap handles, that sold just over the high estimate for $3,258, while a lacquered square-form hardwood table, Republican Period, China, 34 inches high with a 27-inch square top, brought $2,666, in the middle of the estimate. It was followed by a carved hardwood altar table, Qing Dynasty, China, 31¼ inches high, that sold over estimate for $4,443.
Lot 3560 was a carved jade boulder with rider, Twentieth Century, China, of a celadon color with carved scene of a rider on horseback along the edge of a cliff. The artist seal is on the reverse. The height of the jade is 5½ inches and it brought $6,517, just over the low estimate. A few lots later, a carved jade ruyi scepter, China, in serpentine form with carved elephant surrounded by clouds and the handle displaying a vase of flowers along with flying bats brought $4,740, within estimate. A pair of cloisonne covered bowls, Eighteenth Century, China, were made in lotus form with dome covers, 6 inches in diameter and decorated with stylized dragons on a turquoise ground. The final bid, within estimate, was $6,517.
Among the bronze lots was a statue of a seated figure, Twentieth Century, China, depicted with legs crossed and with his hands resting on his knees. The face is finished in gilt with red pigment applied to the lips. Selling for $15,997, just over the high estimate, the figure measures 16 inches high. A large Kesi embroidery of herons and deities, China, from the late Nineteenth Century or earlier, went for $3,851, just over twice the high estimate, while an extensive Chinese export Rose Mandarin dinner service, Nineteenth Century, China, including various sized plates, covered tureens, platters, covered dishes and bowls sold for $17,775, only $275 over the low estimate. A set of nine rosewood, mother of pearl-inset chairs and tables, including four long seats, two chairs, two stands and one table, sold for $16,590, just over the high estimate.
Bidding was strong for lot 1680, two framed watercolor landscapes, China, the first depicting a mountainous terrain with buildings along the cliff’s edge and figures in a cavern below. It is signed along the tight margin with the artist’s seal on left. The second shows a serene landscape with a waterfall in the foreground, surrounded by mountainous terrain, with a label on the reverse identifying the artist as Huang Hol. One measures 55½ by 29 inches sight and the other 55 by 28½ inches sight. They are in very good condition and sold well over the $1,200 high estimate at $15,405.
The next auction at James D. Julia’s Fairfield headquarters will be October 4–7, offering rare and collectible firearms, and starting at 10 am each day. A three-day preview will be open October 1–3 from 9 am to 5 pm each day. “We have over $20 million in consignments,” Jim Julia said, noting that one of the interesting and important lots is the Cashmore double barrel shotgun that was once used by Annie Oakley.
For additional information, www.jamesdjulia.com or 207-453-7125.
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