Published: April 4, 2023
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Eldred’s
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Nearly a year and a half after Eldred’s conducted its first “Women In The Arts” auction, the Cape Cod house once again offered an assembly of more than 200 lots of paintings, works on paper, sculpture, mixed media, photographs and ceramics, all made by women artists. The sale earned about $125,000, with a portion of the proceeds once again going to WE CAN, a Harwich, Mass.-based organization that supports low- and moderate-income women as they navigate life transitions.
“I’m very happy with how the sale did,” Josh Eldred said after the sale. “Every time you try to build something, it takes a while, but we’re very pleased.
Leading the sale at $11,250 was Alice Barber Stephens’ (Penn./N.J., 1858-1932) “The 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition,” a scenic if limited-view landscape from the San Francisco World’s Fair that took place between February 20 and December 4, 1915, and celebrated the construction of the Panama Canal. Consigned to Eldred’s by a dealer of American Nineteenth and Twentieth Century art, the 13½-by-10½-inch oil on canvas sold to a private collector from the Mid-Atlantic area.
Temperatures on Cape Cod on the day of the sale might have been spring-like but that did not deter a New England collector from taking an oil on board snow-covered landscape by Helen Hamilton (N.Y., 1889-1970) to $3,625, more than three times its high estimate.
Though landscapes were arguably one of the most favored genres in the scene, one of the least populous categories – ceramics and pottery with just two entrants in the sale – earned $3,500 and a third place finish with a buyer on the West Coast. The distinction went to a 19-inch-tall white glazed vase with scrolled handles by Elizabeth “Betty” Abrahams Woodman (American/Italian, 1930-2018).
Kicking off the day was two works by late Twentieth Century painter Elizabeth Bishop Mumford (Mass., 1950-2020) – “To Market, To Market,” an oil on board landscape view of Faneuil Hall and the Boston waterfront, painted in 1986, also exceeded expectations and finished at $3,250; her “The Sailor’s Wife the Sailor’s Star Shall be. Yo-ho, we go across the bounding Sea” sold for $3,000. The works, which had been in the same Cape Cod family, will stay local, and together.
An oil on canvas still life by Pamela Pindell (Mass./Ind., b 1950) depicting onions and crockery on a stone or tile ledge measured 37 by 47 inches in its giltwood frame and appealed to a California buyer, who prevailed against competition to take it for $3,000, the paintings low estimate. Selling in the middle of its estimate at $1,000 was a charming still life of lemons, oranges, floral sprigs and an Imari bowl by Elizabeth Trevor Sutcliffe (English, 1886-1926).
Sculpture was another fairly small category, with only five lots on offer. Two of them were bronze dogs – whippets to be precise – by Katharine Ward Lane Weems (Mass., 1899-1989). A model of a stretching whippet finished at $2,625, while that of a whippet playing made $1,500. Eldred said he had found both in a Newport, R.I., estate and the two of Weems’ bronzes were purchased by the same Massachusetts collector.
Modernist works were represented as well, perhaps none more so than those by Selina Trieff (N.Y./Mass., 1934-2015), who had five works in the sale, all portraits, including the highest of the category, her self-portrait, a mixed-media work on paper, 25 by 30 inches framed, which made $2,375, exceeding expectations. Eldred said they’d seen a real bump in interest in the Wellfleet’s works since her death.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Eldred’s next auction will feature Twentieth Century Art + Design and will take place on April 19. For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
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