Published: November 27, 2007
Stephen Gass, partner at Trinity International Auctions & Appraisals, conducted a fall auction on Saturday, October 6, in a room filled to capacity with a wide assortment of art. While bidders in the gallery were few, with more than eight phones and the Internet, Gass reported a “very, very good sale.”
He added, “The Russian works were, as expected, highly sought-after, as were many American artists; the Old Masters were great.” The favored lots were many and encompassed a range of styles, age and media. However, it was neither the Russians nor the Americans that claimed the position of top lot, but a Spanish artist, Roman Ribera (1848‱935) whose “Going to the Opera,” oil on panel, led at $45,410.
Two pieces by John Francis Murphy (American, 1853‱921) came from a private collector in Long Island. Both scenes were of the Connecticut countryside and were fresh to the market; both were among the most hotly contested of the day. His “Farm in the Connecticut Countryside,” 1917, oil on canvas, 19 by 26 inches, sold for $9,560; “Old Lyme, Connecticut Landscape” went to $10,755.
New York was well represented with a Guy Wiggins oil, “Winter in the Park,” going to $15,535. “Perhaps one of my favorite pieces in the auction is by John J. Enneking,” Gass said. “It shows a spring picnic with blooming trees and the Old North Bridge of Concord, Mass., in the background. The bridge was the site of one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775.”
The Enneking sold for $21,510, well above the $8/12,000 estimate.
A mixed media work from a private collector in Pound Ridge, N.Y., “was something of a surprise,” said Gass, “Woman with a Suitcase,” by contemporary artist Leroy Neimann (b 1921) went to $9,560, well above its $6,000 high estimate. A Robert Onderdonk oil on panel achieved almost ten times its low estimate of $600. Onderdonk was a Texas artist, 1852‱917. His “Blue Bonnets, Texas,” had a label from Arlington Art Galleries, Madison Avenue, New York City, and realized $5,497.
Other American works also did well: another Guy Wiggins, “Winter in the Country, Old Lyme, Conn.,” an oil on paper laid on board, carried a Lyme Art Association label and sold for $7,767; also having the Lyme Art Association label, Everett Warner’s oil on board “Early Spring” realized $4,541; a John Whorf watercolor, “The White Clapboard House,” brought $4,182; Ben Benn’s “Boats on the Beach” realized $4,302 (well above high estimate); and Andre Gisson’s “Mother and Child” went to $5,736.
English works were well represented, including an oil on canvas portrait by Irish artist Sir John Lavery (1856‱941); “Mrs Maxwell Blake, London 1914,” realized $21,510. Scottish artist Sir William McTaggert’s “Boys Playing at the Shore,” from a private Pound Ridge, N.Y., collector, sold for $11,352. Attributed to the British artist Enoch Seeman (1694‱744), “A Lady in White with a Blue Veil,” from the estate of sculptor Felix de Weldon (the sculptor of “The Flag Raising on Iwo Jima”), sold at $5,019.
Being an international auction, Gass believes in offering works by artists from many countries. From Japan, “Japanese Landscape,” a watercolor by Toraji Ishikawa (1875‱964), was described as a “sleeper.” With a presale estimate of $600/900, it ended at $3,824.
An up-and-coming artist, according to Gass, is Agustin Fernandez (Cuban, b 1928). His acrylic on canvas, 31½ by 31½ inches, “Abstract Composition,” from 1968, was signed and dated and sold just above its high estimate at $4,063.
Several phone bidders and absentee bidders competed for Georges Charles Robin’s “Loches.” Robin (1873‱943), a French artist, painted scenes of the French countryside and this oil on canvas, 15 by 18 inches, was no exception. After some tense moments, when several phone bidders were trying to get auctioneer Boris Wainio’s nod, it sold to the phone for $4,541.
A Nineteenth Century gem of a painting, listed as “European” and titled “The Procession in the Town Square,” was an oil on canvas, 18 by 15½ inches. Offered early in the sale, it sold for $2,390 to a bidder on the floor. Jacob Jordaens’ (School of), (Flemish, 1593‱678), “Bacchus,” had a cradle stretcher, and realized $3,107.
From the Spanish school, a Seventeenth Century oil on canvas titled “St Francis in Prayer in a Landscape” had a provenance that included the sculptor de Weldon. The 38-by-28-inch work went to an Internet buyer for $4,780. Another Seventeenth Century piece, from the studio of Caspar Netscher (Dutch, 1639‱684), came from a private New York City collector, who had purchased it at Sotheby’s in 1996. After several bidders both in the gallery and online finished, “Jupiter and Callisto,” went out at $16,730.
It would not be a Trinity Auction without some special Russian art among the offerings. Leading off the sale, Russian art reflected the ever-increasing interest in the genre, regardless of date. Constantine Makovsky’s (1839‱915) “Intermission at the Opera,” a pastel and gouache, sold online for $6,572. A Vassily Andreievich Tropinin “Portrait of a Little Girl” in pencil, sanguine and white gouache, had an online bidder going against a bidder in the room, finally selling to the floor for $2,480.
Several phone bidders competed for Constantin Westchiloff’s “Natural Seascape,” oil on canvas, 16 by 20 inches, with it selling at $8,365.
“View of the Volgo River,” attributed to Nekolai Makovsky, became the top lot of the Russian paintings, going to an Internet bidder for $17,920⁷ell above the $12,000 high estimate in the catalog.
Gass is planning a major sale for January and consignments are currently being accepted. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.tiauctions.com or 860-677-9766.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm