Published: September 26, 2006
A fine afternoon’s painting collaboration between two brothers-in-law was the star attraction at the August 21, Bruce Gamage, Jr, sale, where it sold for $71,500. The artists, Andrew Wyeth and Peter Hurd, had both signed the watercolor image of a Maine island house.
Wyeth painted the house and its red flag, the sky and the clouds; Hurd, who was married to Wyeth’s sister, Henriette, did the grasses and bushes. The two friends instructed each other as well: Hurd taught Wyeth to use egg tempera and Wyeth taught Hurd the use of watercolor.
The picture came from a family in Chadds Ford, Penn., and was accompanied by a note from Wyeth’s sister Carolyn. It sold after an active round of bidding to a Maine collector.
Wyeth family members and representatives of the Farnsworth Art Museum, home of the Wyeth Center, photographed the picture for the family record.
The annual summer event was, as auctioneer Bruce Gamage, Jr, said by telephone after the sale, “An honest little estate sale.” That it was, and much more. More than 270 bidders registered.
While the Wyeth-Hurd painting was a big draw in what is routinely considered “Wyeth country,” the sale was also replete with other gems for the savvy buyer.
A beautifully painted unsigned luminist painting of fishermen in what appeared to be a Florida swamp went to a local dealer for a solid $8,800. Another painting of interest was the 1892 Walter Gay rendering of French women at prayer in a church that sold for $5,830. The imposing picture measured 81 by 64 inches and was deaccessioned from a major institution where it had been in storage since 1955.
A landscape with figures by Edmund Darch Lewis, consigned from a Belfast, Maine, home, sold for $4,400. A vibrantly colored theorem of a basket of fruit by David Ellinger also did well, bringing $2,200
More than 40 country objects from the estate of Ann Wyeth McCoy, daughter of N.C. Wyeth and sister to Andrew, were offered. McCoy, a musician and artist in her own right, married fellow artist John McCoy, a student of her father at Chadds Ford. Lots consigned from the McCoy estate attracted a great deal of interest. Her dollhouse in the style of a Victorian cottage, along with the furniture, including an Adirondack chair on the front porch, sold for $8,800 to an area doll dealer. A pair of male and female Chinese missionary carved wood Door of Hope dolls sold to the trade for $1,150. An early Asian carved commode was a robust $805.
A carved folk art draft horse with a fine crusty surface brought a strong $1,150, while a folk art papier mache fish realized $825.
Two sandpaper paintings from the McCoy estate included a memorial in a gilt frame and a seascape that brought $660 each. An interesting Nineteenth Century stoneware bourbon jug in the form of a pig was irresistible and brought $1,870, and a small Bennington Pottery figure of a buffalo went for $165. A Nineteenth Century brass harpoon gun realized $805.
A large (31 inches wide) Swiss cylinder music box with eight tunes in an inlay case was in running order and sold for $1,150, while a ladder back rocking chair that may have been made by Nathaniel Dominy, along with pencil drawings of the chair by John W. McCoy, represented a good buy at $275.
An elaborate majolica bowl festooned with colorful pastel birds, flowers and leaves with a tree limb handle measured 18 inches and brought a reasonable $935. A pair of celadon Paris porcelain vases fetched $385.
A selection of Arts and Crafts furniture pieces proved to be a great attraction as a three-drawer Gustav Stickley bookcase, that Gamage thought had an old refinish and was missing its hardware, sold for $6,875. A Gustav Stickley two-door bookcase brought $5,500 and a one-door example went for $4,675. The bookcases all sold to the same buyer. A Morris chair retaining the original wood pegs by L. & J.G. Stickley realized $3,190 and a 36-inch-round table that Gamage said “must have been Stickley” went out at $3,850.
A circa 1810 Portsmouth Sheraton mahogany sideboard that measured 48 inches across sold for $5,225. The sideboard had been in the Hodge house in nearby Wiscasset. A three-part Hepplewhite mahogany dining table fetched $4,125 and a Queen Anne fire screen with a needlepoint panel went for $385.
A large Chippendale chest-on-chest drew $4,125 and a Silas Hoadley tall clock in old red paint realized $1,540. Among an array of Windsor chairs offered was a set of six Windsor birdcage chairs that sold for $2,475, while a fanback Windsor chair drew $935.
Other items included a hooked rug depicting two full-bodied deer surrounded with squirrels and birds in a grassy setting that sold for $1,650, a Shaker seed box that Gamage said was in “rough shape” sold for $495, and a ship’s journeyman’s chest with fancy inlay brought $633.
A sale that had something for everyone included two cars: a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza that appeared to be in excellent condition sold at $3,410 and a 1979 Ford Thunderbird brought $1,650.
All prices quoted reflect the ten percent buyer’s premium. For information, 297-594-4963 or www.gamageantiques.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm