Published: March 7, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
THOMASTON, MAINE – With a sale offering a diverse selection of items ranging from the Seventeenth Century to the Twenty-First Century, Thomaston Place Auction Galleries on February 24, 25 and 26 presented its Winter Enchantment auction featuring paintings and sculpture, estate jewelry, antique and modern furniture, folk art, collectibles, Asian artifacts and decorative accessories. The sale totaled $1.7 million and posted an 85 percent sell-through rate. The sale hosted a total of 1,308 registered bidders worldwide, comprising people who registered with Thomaston for live, phone, absentee or Thomaston Live online bidding, plus the winning bidders on LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. The firm noted that this tally does not include the number of people who registered on LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable, but did not win an item.
An enigmatic interior scene featuring a leaf and recamier by Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977) led the third day, finishing at an above high estimate $51,250 and won by a private buyer. The oil on Masonite was signed lower left and dated ’56. The matchbook depicted pinned to the wall and inscribed “KP” is possibly a nod to Abercrombie’s friend and fellow artist Karl Priebe (1914-1976). Housed in a black and gold rosette corner frame, the scene measured 9½ by 7½ inches. Abercrombie was based in Chicago and was inspired by the European Surrealism movement. She was acclaimed for her complex self-portraits and enigmatic paintings of stark interiors and illusory landscapes. Called “the queen of the bohemian artists,” she was involved in the Chicago jazz scene and friends with musicians, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Sarah Vaughan, whose music inspired her own creative work.
Pop sensibility itches were scratched by an Andy Warhol (1920-1987) “Campbell’s Soup (Cream of Mushroom),” a 1968 serigraph on paper, signed verso and stamp numbered 178/250. From the “Campbell’s Soup” series published by Factory Additions, New York, it bested its $20/30,000 estimate to bring $42,000.
Likewise, an offset lithograph on white wove paper by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), “Shipboard Girl,” was bid to $31,250. Printed in four colors (yellow, red, blue, black), the 1965 litho was signed lower right margin “RF Lichtenstein,” published by Graphic Industries for Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City. Its edition quantity was unknown, and it was housed in a 1980s mahogany bullnose frame with brass corners, floated under UV plexiglass, 31½ by 25½ inches.
There was a substantial group of Old Master paintings, including a German Renaissance-style portrait of a young woman with a locket. The arched top oil on oak panel was unsigned, the subject depicted in an ornate gown with bejeweled bodice, trim and choker and segmented sleeves. She was depicted holding palm fronds in front of a background painted with knights jousting. Overhead ribands read, “Nuremberg, Munchen, Augsburg, Inspruk.” Measuring 21 by 15 inches overall, the painting went out at $39,600, a significant premium above its $1/1,500 estimate.
Born in 1953, Linden Frederick is an American artist who resides in Belfast, Maine. A realist painter, his scenes of rural and small-town life like “Winter Night,” 1995, an oil on linen, resonate with many collectors. Signed lower right, titled and dated on label verso from New York City’s Tatistchef Gallery, the 27-by-27-inch painting realized $25,000.
“Red Hills,” an impasto oil on plywood by Benjamin Palincia Perez (Spanish, 1894-1980) was taken to $22,500, nearly three times its high estimate. Signed lower right and dated ’67, it was housed in a gold gesso frame and measured 25½ by 31½ inches.
Three Cubist abstract paintings by Serge Charchoune (Russian-French, 1888-1975) turned in good performances. “Figures D’Echiquier,” an oil on paper, made $19,200. Charchoune was the first Russian Dada poet, born in Russia, but living most of his working life in Paris. His large grey tonal Cubist abstract, “Douce Lumiere,” oil on linen, brought the same amount. And his small Cubist abstract in earth tones took $17,500.
Maritime master James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894) always finds a welcoming market at auction. In this sale, two of his works were notable. A New York Harbor scene, depicting Castle Clinton, the Battery, Manhattan with a crossing warship, steam/sail ship, two-masted schooner and a longboat with crew, each a little masterpiece of its own, found a buyer at $18,750. The oil on academy board, signed lower right and housed in the original gilt gesso deep cove frame, measured 16 by 20 inches.
Buttersworth’s “A Crowded Sea Lane,” an oil on concave copper plate with an embossed brass surround earned $14,400. The image contained a number of sidewheelers, sailing ships and yachts around a stationary light ship. Unsigned, the painting was presented in a custom gold leaf shadowbox frame.
Western artist Albert Bierstadt’s (1830-1902) “Study of a Mountain Saddle Ridge,” was a survivor of an 1882 fire that destroyed “Malkasten,” Bierstadt’s Tarrytown, N.Y., mansion and studio overlooking the Hudson River, along with a large portion of these scale of studies. This oil on linen, signed lower left, in a later painted cove frame, left the gallery at $14,400.
Bling always finds eager bidders at auction. The 196-lot estate jewelry and watch selection in this sale included a vintage platinum and gold ring center set with a 4.55-carat Old European cut diamond. With a Tiffany-style six-prong center and four old single cut diamonds on each shoulder, the size 6¼ ring with a retail replacement cost of $45,000 managed to finish at $30,000.
A rare Edwardian moonstone and sapphire pendant necklace in white gold featured a pendant with a large, oval moonstone crowned by six small moonstones and six Ceylon sapphires. It was 18 inches in length and sold for $27,600, more than five times its high estimate.
Featured among the large selection of Asian artifacts was a Chinese Ming dynasty period gilt bronze seated Guanyin figure and an Eighteenth Century Chinese celadon stem cup. The Qing period glazed porcelain footed cup had an underglaze blue six-character Qianlong seal mark on its base and was affixed with a round paper label from Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York City. It sat on a carved wooden stand, 3½ inches high and brought $27,600 against a $1/1,500 estimate. The large Seventeenth Century Chinese Ming gilt bronze bodhisattva was crowned, clad in dhoti and shawl with elongated earlobes having rosette earrings, swagged necklace, beads in hand, bow at front of dhoti, left arm on a rail rest and right knee up in relaxed stance. Bidders took the figure to $28,125, nearly twice its high estimate.
Highlighting folk art was a carved and painted wall-mounted eagle, possibly the figurehead from a Nineteenth Century US Navy officer’s launch. At 27 by 15 by 13 inches and in overall good condition, it commanded triple its high estimate, finishing at $16,250.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Thomaston’s next major three-day auction is set for July 7-9. For additional information, www.thomastonauction.com or 207-354-8141.
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
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