Published: January 2, 2007
Two James Edward Buttersworth marine paintings were the top lots at Grogan & Company’s October 15 sale when a 12-by-18-inch portrait of the racing schooner “Atalanta Rounding Buoy 8½” brought $269,500. A companion painting of the vessel Halcyon brought $230,000. Both pictures came from the Boston area estate of Thomas H.P. Whitney and both went to a New York dealer on the phone who outlasted all comers in his efforts to secure the paintings for a client.
The same dealer took a Venetian oil on canvas by California painter Guy Rose, “The Gondolier,” for $161,000. Although the work was atypical of Rose’s work, it did exhibit the soft blue, green and lavender palette and the style similar to that of Claude Monet whom Rose befriended when they both lived in Giverny. The painting came from a Cape Cod house where it had hung since it was painted.
An Italian School Venetian canal scene made in the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century was estimated at $1/1,500 and sold for $34,500 to a dealer in the room who had traveled from Italy to get it. The painting came from the same consignor whose Canadian picture “Onions” by the Quebec-born artist Marc Aurele de Foy-Suzor Cote brought $71,875 against a $3/5,000 estimate last March.
Bidders liked what they saw among the paintings that crossed the block and drove several pictures to exceptional levels, particularly those with water views.
The French picture “Maison dans la Dune, Fort Philippe, 1903” by Henri Eugene LeSidaner sold on the phone for $60,375. The sea and some sailboats were visible behind the house.
One example was William Stanley Haseltine’s luminist “Coastal View,” a view of Nahant, Mass., which sold to William Samaha for $21,850. The Philadelphia-born Haseltine painted views along the New England coast, frequently of Nahant.
A mid Nineteenth Century Chinese School view of Macao realized $17,250 from a phone bidder. Both pictures came from the Whitney estate.
Wesley Webber’s 1877 “Race into Port” attracted interest in the sale room as it raced past the estimated $3/5,000 to $8,050.
A Nineteenth Century English School painting “View of the Seaport” sold to a phone bidder for $5,175. The painting, estimated at $500/700, drew vigorous bidding.
It was not all about the sea, however.
Two views of a roiling Mount Vesuvius by American artist Charles Caryl Coleman were also the subject of vigorous bidding and they brought $10,063 from still another phone buyer.
When the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century European School portrait of a bearded man that was inscribed “Jos. Ribera 1612” came up, seemingly everyone wanted to bid and did so. It eventually sold on the phone for $8,625 against the estimated $300/500. “Village by a River” by Canadian artist Frederic Charles Vipond Ede opened at $2,000, the low estimate, and sold for $8,625.
The genre painting “Wash Day” by South Carolina artist William Aiken Walker drew $17,250.
The farm and the barnyard were also popular subjects.
The handsome equestrian picture “Gohanna with Mr Thomas Bird” by English artist John Boultree attracted English interest and sold on the phone for $14,950. Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait’s signed and dated 1888 “Springer and Chicks” opened at $6,000 and sold to another phone buyer for $11,500.
Doggy pictures were also strong. English artist Lilian Cheviot’s “White Terrier” was a big favorite and sold for $9,775 to yet another telephone bidder. Another phone bidder paid $5,750 for Rosa Bonheur’s “Terrier” that had been part of the estate of Mrs John Hay Whitney that sold at Sotheby’s in 1999. An absentee bidder bought Bonheur’s “Lamb Grazing in a Field” for $5,175.
A Continental School still life with fruit from the Whitney estate realized $9,200, also on the phone.
In 1905, Alfred Steiglitz and Edward Steichen opened the Little Galleries of the Photo Secession at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City. It became merely “291” by 1907 and was the venue of the first American exhibitions of the work of such modern European artists as Matisse, Rodin, Cezanne and Picasso. American artists of the era also made their first appearances there.
Paintings that appeared in the publication and copies of 291 itself garnered no small interest. A 1914 abstract composition in white and maroon was estimated to bring $300/500 but sailed off to $11,500 from a phone bidder. Its flight might have been inspired by the inscription “Williams” on the back of the stretcher, which may suggest that it is the work of poet and sometime painter William Carlos Williams who was involved in 291.
A collection of 14 issues of the review published by 291 was also of great interest to the knowledgeable, who drove it past its estimated $300/500; the lot sold for $5,750. The same buyer paid $2,300 for the illustration “Mental Reactions” by Agnes Ernst Meyer that was published in the second issue of the magazine. It was accompanied by a framed lithograph of 291.
An absentee bidder prevailed on the oil on canvas “Architectural View in Gray” by Frank Burty Haviland that bore a 291 label at $4,025 and on Haviland’s oil on canvas “Les Fortifications” that was also $4,025. The 291 lots had all at one time belonged to Agnes Ernst Meyer, who was a supporter of the gallery. She had also owned the painting “Man in Hat Watching a Soaring Bird” by George Schreiber that bore a label from Associated American Artists. Estimated at $400/600, it brought $2,300.
A pate sur pate plaque with a mythological theme by Louis Solon drew a phone bidder competition and sold for $31,625
A KPM plaque painted after Raphael’s “The Sistine Madonna” was signed and dated “L. Sturm, Dresden 1887,” was particularly large, 26¾ by 211/8 inches, and sold for $21,850.
Early English furniture from a Connecticut house proved enticing when an Elizabethan oak court cabinet with three tiers and inlay and carved with prominent bulbous supports sold on the phone for $10,925. The same buyer took a Charles I carved oak credence table with a half-round flip top over a geometric carved skirt for $10,350.
Another Elizabethan carved oak court cabinet had two drawers above two doors and sold for $8,855.
A Charles II carved oak dresser base with three drawers sold in the room for $6,900, while a Charles II carved oak bench fetched $4,600 and a Charles II oak armchair with a foliate carved and inlaid back was $4,313.
A petite George II slant front desk in walnut veneer with a fitted interior sold for $9,200, while a George I walnut veneer cabinet on chest realized $7,475. An Eighteenth Century set of six George III carved mahogany side chairs went for $8,050.
A William IV carved mahogany dining table with a split pedestal and two leaves that extended to 139 inches was quite handsome and sold for $9,200.
A distinctive Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century Continental sideboard in green lacquer chinoiserie with a serpentine front, cabriole legs and hoof feet brought $8,050 from an Essex, Mass., dealer.
A large Tiffany & Co. silver and enamel vase was on view last winter and spring in Palm Beach, Fla., in “Tiffany at the World’s Columbian Exposition” at the Flagler Museum. It had been among the approximately 500 Tiffany objects displayed at the exposition and for which Tiffany was awarded 56 medals for excellence. The vase was displayed in Florida with a placard noting that it had originally been shown in 1893 with a smaller, identical example of much better quality whose whereabouts was unknown. No longer.
The Tiffany & Co. silver and enamel bud vase was a big surprise when it rocketed past the estimated $600/800 to $42,450. The 7¼-inch vase was enameled with pink roses and rosebuds and green leaves. Pretty grimy and with one bent rim, it was the vase that had been seen originally at the Columbian Exposition and had later disappeared.
The mystery is now solved. The vase came from a local estate and went to a Boston area dealer who is also a collector. Speaking after the sale, Michael B. Grogan, president and chief auctioneer, said, “We missed it! It was well marked and rare.”
Other silver to cross the block was certainly respectable, but lacking the drama of the little vase. A set of four George III candlesticks made around 1760-1761 by John Café was quite handsome and sold for $7,475. A set of five George III silver salts made in 1805 by London maker Robert Garrard sold for $1,840 and two George III serving pieces by William Eley and William Fearn included an asparagus server and a fish server and sold for $1,840.
A nine-piece silver tea service by the Austrian maker Bachruch A. Succ realized $2,415, and a Reed & Barton silver flatware service for 12 in the Francis I pattern was $2,070.
A 10-inch Arts and Crafts vase in three shades of blue with an incised floral design from the Newcomb College pottery was a solid $8,913.
A porcelain pitcher with gilt and painted floral decoration that was described merely as “possibly Tucker China” for the William Ellis Tucker porcelain manufactory in early Nineteenth Century Philadelphia sold for $3,163 against the estimated $1/1,500.
An English mahogany tall clock by Cressener of London that was paint decorated with musical instruments, flowers and putti sold for $5,750 and a Waltham mahogany tall case clock sold by Bigelow Kennard was $3,105.
A 14-inch German ivory table screen carved with a detailed hunt scene drew interest and sold for $4,025.
A 42-inch pair of Louis XV style gilt bronze three light wall sconces attracted much interest and brought $4,313, and a pair of Lalique glass figures depicting two of the four seasons and mounted as lamps realized $1,840.
All prices quoted reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 781-461-9500 or www.groganco.com.
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