Published: August 14, 2007
Collectors attending Alderfer Auction & Appraisal’s quarterly fine and decorative arts auctions regularly break records when bidding on prized art, and the June 15 fine art auction was no exception.
Walter Emerson Baum’s “The Miller Sellersville-Winter Freidensville” sold for a record breaking $97,750, nearly $39,000 more than any other Baum has brought. “This painting was a truly exquisite example of Baum’s work,” said Brent Souder, director of fine and decorative art at Alderfer’s. “Not only was it from his most noteworthy period of the 1920s, but it was exhibition size, and showed a terrific use of impasto with a classic Baum landscape composition.”
Baum was a prolific Bucks County, Penn., artist trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. He also taught at his own school, the Baum School of Art, making his painting well known throughout the nation, and particularly in eastern Pennsylvania, where Alderfer’s is located. Other Baum paintings also did well, including “Covered Bridge at Perkasie, Penn.,” which captured $11,500 against a $2/3,000 estimate.
Winter scenes dominated many of the top selling paintings, despite the warm June temperatures outside. Kenneth Nunamaker’s “Road to Byram” was a petite 8-by-10-inch oil on board painting of a winter landscape along the river with falling snow. The painting brought $28,750.
Johann Berthelsen’s “Brooklyn Bridge” and “Flag at Penn Station,” also winter scenes, proved popular with bidders, who paid $11,500 and $13,800, respectively. While Nunamaker and Baum painted largely rural scenes, Berthelsen concentrated on New York City landmarks standing strong and powerful above people who were still impacted by nature.
William Frances Taylor’s “From My Window” also featured a winter scene, this time along the Delaware River, Penn. This oil on canvas measured 16 by 20 inches and brought $19,550, well above estimate. Taylor, like Baum and Nunamaker, is part of the New Hope School, concentrating on Impressionist landscapes.
Landscapes continued to interest the large crowd gathered as well as the more than 900 registered online bidders. George Cope’s “Great Falls of the Lehigh River” shows an eagle in flight over a water-fall. Part of the Brandywine School of painters, Cope’s work is more realistic than many of the Bucks County or New Hope School painters. “Great Falls” was brought back to Pennsylvania for auction by its California owner, and realized $21,850.
Folk artist Jean Halter was once again represented at Alderfer’s. “Christmas River” is an oil on canvas, again featuring a river, but this time with period ice skaters and sleigh riders in a river town. The record for Halter’s work was established at Alderfer’s last December with a similar painting; this smaller painting brought $8,625.
Alderfer’s auctions are known for their eclectic nature, and this one was no different. Abstract artist Vaclav Vytlacil was represented by a small casein tempera, measuring 6½ by 8¼ inches, signed and dated 1938. The diminutive painting was sold to a floor bidder for $2,185. Tobias Musicant’s playful “Musicians on the Beach,” another modernist painting, also exceeded estimate, fetching $10,350. Musicant painted in the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First Century, and was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Our Friday evening fine art auctions continue to be popular with art lovers, whether looking for pieces to beautify the home or enhance their portfolios. Many make a weekend trip to the area and start their weekend at Alderfer’s. Some even attend our “discovery art” auction, which highlights up-and-coming artists and prints,” said Souder.
The next fine arts auction will be September 6‸ with a special collection on Thursday evening, discovery art at midday on Friday, fine art Friday evening and jewelry, ephemera, decorative accessories, period furniture and carpets on Saturday.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. Alderfer’s is at 501 Fairgrounds Road. For information, www.alderferauction.com or 215-393-3000.
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