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American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture

Sotheby's

10:15 AM, November 30, 2005

Sale 8134

Many major works consigned by the New York Public Library
"George Washington (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait)" by Stuart

Lot 3, "George Washington (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait)," by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 50 by 40 inches, 1797

By Carter B. Horsley

The Fall 2005 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's is highlighted by a group of historical portraits consigned by the New York Public Library, which last year sold Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits to an heir of the Walmart fortune for about $35 million. Kindred Spirits is now on loan to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The sale was controversial because Kindred Spirits is Durand's masterpiece, an icon of 19th Century American landscape painting and the most valuable painting in the library's collection and because some observers do not think that public collections should deaccession.

The works consigned by the library for this auction carry ambitious estimates:

Lot 3, for example, "George Washington (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait)," is a fine portrait by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). An oil on canvas, it measures 50 by 40 inches and was executed in Philadelphia in 1797. The painting was once in the collection of Alexander Hamilton and a marble bust of Alexander Hamilton by Giuseppe Ceracchi will accompany the sale of this lot as it accompanied the original bequest by Hamilton's descendants to the Astor Library. The portrait had been commissioned by William Kerin Constable (a New York merchant and landowner) as a gift for Alexander Hamilton, who was Washington's first Secretary of the Treasury.

The lot has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000. It sold for $8,136,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

"George Washington (The Munro-Lenox Portrait)" by Stuart

Lot 5, "George Washington (The Munro-Lenox Portrait)," by Gilbert Stuart, oilon canvas, 95 by 64 inches, circa 1800

Lot 5 is a large and full-length portrait of Washington by Stuart and is known as "The Munro-Lenox Portrait." An oil on canvas,it measures 95 by 64 inches and was painted circa 1800. It has an estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000. It failed to sell.

"George Washington" by James Peale

Lot 6, "George Washington," by James Peale, oil on canvas, 36 by 27 inches, painted after 1787

Lot 6 is an appealing portrait of George Washington by James Peale (1749-1831). An oil on canvas, it measures 36 by 27 inches and was painted after 1787. It has a very conservative estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $531,200. The catalogue notes that there are two known versions of this work and that this one is "likely the original," adding that Peale borrowed from two different sources to create this half-portrait of the first President in military dress. The head and shoulders are after the portrait of Washington by his brother Charles Willson Peale, which was painted for the Continental Congress in 1787....The inclusion of the horse and attendant is borrowed from Charles Willson's Washington at the Battle of Princteon of 1779..., and according to Rembrandt Peale, the artist's nephew, the attendant is a self-portrait by James."

"Mrs. Robert Hooper" by Copley

Lot 9, "Mrs. Robert Hooper (Hannah White Cowell)," by John Singleton Copley, oil on canvas, 49 1/4 by 39 1/4, circa 1767

There are non-Presidential portraits in the New York Public Library consignment as well. Lot 9, for example, is a fine portrait of Mrs. Robert Hooper (Hannah White Cowell) by John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). An oil on canvas, it measures 49 1/4 by 39 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1767. It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It failed to sell.

Other highlights not consigned by the library included an excellent drawing by John Singer Sargent of his famous "El Jaleo" painting in the collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, a large and good Venetian scene by Sargent, a superb painting by Grant Wood, a good painting by Stuart Davis, a nice Marsden Hartley landscape, good drawings by Seth Eastman and Thomas Moran, and pleasant works by Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, Charles Sheeler, Edward Moran, John La Farge and Maurice Prendergast.

"Winter Scene in Brooklyn" by Guy

Lot 2, "Winter Scene in Brooklyn," by Francis Guy, oil on canvas, 41 by 64 1/2 inches, circa 1817-1820

Another excellent work from the library is Lot 2, "Winter Scene in Brooklyn," by Francis Guy (1760-1820). Works by Guy are very rare on the market. This oil on canvas measures 41 by 64 1/2 inches and was painted circa 1817-1820. It has a very modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $1,024,000.

"Sketch after 'El Jaleo'" by Sargent

Lot 41, "Sketch after 'El Jaleo'," by John Singer Sargent, sepia ink on paper, 9 by 14 inches

Perhaps the real prize of the auction is Lot 41, "Sketch after 'El Jaleo,'" the great and famous painting by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) in the collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A sepia ink on paper, it measures 9 by 14 inches. It has a very modest estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It sold for $228,000.

"The Rialto" by Sargent

Lot 40, "The Rialto," by John Singer Sargent, oil on canvas, 21 1/2 by 26 inches, circa 1909

Lot 40, "The Rialto," is a dramatic and large Venetian scene by John Singer Sargent. An oil on canvas, it measures 21 1/2 by 26 inches and was painted circa 1909. It is property from the estate of Leonard Green and is sold for the benefit of The Green Foundation for the support of the arts, education, and medical/scientific resarch. It was acquired at Sotheby's December 3, 1997 when it sold for about $2.2 million. Despite some condition problems, it has a conservative estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $3,712,000.

"Rue de l'Echaudé" by Davis

Lot 31, "Rue de l'Echaudé," by Stuart Davis, oil and sand on canvas, 23 3/4 by 36 1/4 inches, 1928

Lot 31 is a good work by Stuart Davis (1892-1964) entitled "Rue de l'Echaudé." An oil and sand on canvas, it measures 23 3/4 by 36 1/4 inches and was painted in 1928. It is property from the collection of Josephine and Walter Buhl Ford II. It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $4,496,000.

"Spring Plowing" by Wood

Lot 29, "Spring Plowing," by Grant Wood, oil on board, 18 1/4 by 22 inches, 1932

Another artist who rarely appears on the auction block is Grant Wood (1892-1942). Lot 29 is a fine example of his very stylized oeuvre. Entitled "Spring Plowing," it is an oil on board that measures 18 1/4 by 22 inches. Executed in 1932, it has a somewhat ambitious estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It sold for $6,960,000. This is a fine painting that is almost in the puffy, curvilinear style of Thomas Hart Benton.

"Statue of Liberty Celebration" by Rondel

Lot 141, "Statue of Libery Celebration," by Frederick Rondel, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 by 52 inches

Frederick Rondel (1826-1892) was a teacher of Winslow Homer and is known mostly for bucolic landscapes. Lot 141, however, is a colorful and good depiction of the "Statue of Liberty Celebration." An oil on canvas, it measures 40 1/4 by 52 inches. It is property of the estate of Laurance S. Rockefeller, who acquired it from the Hammer Galleries in New York. It has a conservative estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $352,000.

"Montauk Light" by Hassam

Lot 18, "Montauk Light," by Childe Hassam, oil on panel, 10 1/4 inches square, 1927

Lot 18 is a very strong and good oil on panel by Childe Hassam (1859-1935) entitled "Montauk Light." It measures 10 1/4 inches square and was painted in 1927. It has a conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $102,000.

"The Paris Omnibus" by Prendergast

Lot 25, "The Paris Omnibus," by Maurice B. Prendergast, watercolor and charcoal on paper, 1904

Maurice B. Prendergast (1858-1924) is presented by two very good watercolors, Lots 24 and 25, both of which are property from the estate of Laurance S. Rockefeller. The former is a scene of "Central Park" and it measures 14 by 19 3/4 inches and is dated 1901. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $464,000. The latter, which is much more vibrant, is entitled "The Paris Omnibus." It measures 12 by 18 inches and was executed in 1904. It has a very conservative estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $168,000.

Screen by Charles Prendergast

Lot 26, screen, by Charles Prendergast, each screen measures 68 by 27 inches, circa 1928-1932

Lot 26 is a large tempera, pencil and gold leaf on incised gessoed panel three-part screen by Charles Prendergast (1863-1948). It also comes from the estate of Laurance S. Rockefeller. Each screen measures 68 by 27 inches and they were executed circa 1928-1932. The screen has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $1,584,000.

"View of New York" by Sheeler

Lot 35, "View of New York," by Charles Sheeler, tempera on plexiglass, 7 3/4 by 6 1/4 inches, 1951

Charles Sheeler is one of America's great modernist and precisionist painters. Lot 35 is entitled "View of New York," and is a good tempera on plexiglass that measures only 7 3/4 by 6 1/4 inches. Executed in 1961, it has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.

"Mountain, Number 21" by Hartley

Lot 37, "Mountain, Number 21," by Marsden Hartley, oil on canvas, 34 by 30 inches, 1929-1930

Lot 37 is a good landscape by Marsden Hartley (1878-1943) entitled "Mountain, Number 21." An oil on canvas, it measures 34 by 30 inches and was painted 1929-1930. It is being sold by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the museum had been given it by Mr. and Mrs. Herman Schneider in 1967. It has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $828,000.

"Boat with silver star" by Hartley

Lot 83, "Boat with Silver Star," by Marsden Hartley, oil on wooden bowl, 14 inches in diameter, circa 1916-7

A more intriguing Hartley is Lot 83, "Boat with Silver Star." This is an oil painted and a quite deep wooden bowl that is 14 inches in diameter. It was painted circa 1916-7. It has a modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $240,000.

"The Ferry" by Robinson

Lot 17, "The Ferry," by Theodore Robinson, oil on canvas, 8 1/4 by 15 3/4 inches, circa 1895

Lot 17, "The Ferry," is a very pleasant, small New York harbor scene by Theodore Robinson (1852-1896). An oil on canvas, it measures 8 1/4 by 15 3/4 inches and was painted circa 1895. It has a very modest estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $96,000.

"Crow Indian on the Lookout" by Alfred Jacob Miller

Lot 205, "Crow Indian on the Lookout," by Alfred Jacob Miller, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 12 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) is the most romantic of the early painters of the American West and Lot 165 is a lovely watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper work by him. Entitled "Crow Indian on the Lookout," it measures 12 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches and has a modest estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $144,000. It sold at Christie's December 5,2002 for $83,650 when its estimate was $30,000 to $50,000.

"Striking the Post" by Eastman

Lot 206, "Striking the Post," by Seth Eastman, watercolor on paper, 6 by 8 1/2 inches, 1852

Another great early Western watercolor is Lot 206, "Striking the Post," by Seth Eastman (1808-1875). It measures 6 by 8 1/2 inches but is highly detailed and very fine. It was drawn in 1852. It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.

"Tower Falls and Sulfur Mountain, Yellowstone" by Moran

Lot 204, "Tower Falls and Sulphur Mountain, Yellowstone," by Thomas Moran, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 9 1/2 by 13 inches, 1872

Lot 204 is a fine watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper by Thomas Moran (1837-1926) of "Tower Falls and Sulphur Mountain, Yellowstone." It measures 9 1/2 by 13 inches and was drawn in 1872. Moran's Western watercolors are almost as prized as his major Western scene paintings. This has a rather modest estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $553,600.

"Monterey Coast" by Moran

Lot 191, "Monterey Coast," by Thomas Moran, oil on canvas, 30 by 40 inches, 1912

Lot 191, "Monterey Coast," is a large and fine oil on canvas by Moran of the "Monterey Coast." It measures 30 by 40 inches and was painted in 1912. It is property from the estate of Leonard Green and sold for the benefit of The Green Foundation. It has an estimate of $750,000 to $1,000,000. It sold for $1,472,000.

"An Old Time Northern Plains Indian - The Coup" by Remington

Lot 213, "An Old Time Northern Plains Indian - The Coup," by Frederic Remington, oil on canvas, 23 by 33 inches, circa 1890

Lot 213 is a large and impressive oil on canvas by Frederic Remington (1861-1909). Entitled "An Old Time Northern Plains Indian - The Coup," it was painted circa 1890 and was painted to accompany "Some American Riders," a story by Colonel Theodore Ayrault Dodge that was published in Harper's Monthly in 1891. One of the later painters to focus on the West, Remington can be uneven, but he was especially good at painting horses and this is a very dramatic and handsome painting. It has a rather modest estimate of $700,000 to $1,000,000. It failed to sell.

"A Summer Evening," by Silva

Lot 165, "A Summer Evening," by Francis A. Silva, oil on canvas, 20 by 36 inches, 1880

The auction is a bit weak on 19th Century landscapes but Lot 165, "A Summer Evening," by Francis A. Silva (1835-1886) stands out. An oil on canvas that measures 20 by 36 inches, it was painted in 1880. Silva is a fine Luminist painter and this work is very lush. It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $856,000.

Two paintings of young elms by David Johnson

Lot 151, "Young Elms," above, and Lot 150, "Young Elms (Mrs. David Johnson Sitting Under A Tree)," below, both by David Johnson, and both oil on canvas measuring 10 by 14 3/4 inches.

David Johnson (1827-1908) is a fine Hudson River School painter best known for the precision and clarity of his paintings, especially his small works. Lots 150 and 151 are oils on canvas that both measure 10 by 14 3/4 and depict groups of young elm trees, one with the artist's wife sitting beneath one of the trees. These are lovely and each painting has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Lot 150 sold for $69,000. Lot 151 sold for $73,000.

"Winter Thaw" by La Farge

Lot 22, "Winter Thaw," by John La Farge, oil on panel (to be sold unframed), 9 1/4 by 12 inches, 1874

John La Farge (1835-1910) is one of the more important artists of the "American Renaissance" who is best known for his murals and works in stained glass. Lot 22 is a very fine Tonalist-like lanscape by him that was executed in 1874. Entitled "Winter Thaw," it is an oil on panel and measures 9 1/4 by 12 inches. It has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $66,000.

Lot 173 is a excellent and very amusing painting by William Holbrook Beard (1823-1900), entitled "School Rules." An oil on canvas, it measures 18 by 24 inches and depicts numerous animals standing in a line before a seated monkey holding a switch, all dressed in human clothing. It was painted in 1887 and has an estimate of $70,000 to $100,000. It sold for $298,000.

 

See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2005 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2005 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 American Paintings Auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on The Fall 2002 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 American Paintings auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 American Paintings auction at Phillips de Pury &

Luxembourg

See The City Review on the Spring 2002 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2001 American Paintings Auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2001 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2001 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2001 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2001 American Paintings auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg

See The City Review article on the Fall 2000 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2000 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2000 American Paintings auction at Phillips

See The City Review article on the Spring 2000 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review Article on the Spring 2000 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1999 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review on the Fall 1999 American Paintings auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review Article on the Spring 1999 American Paintings auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the May 27, 1999 auction of American Paintings at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1998 Important American Paintings Auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 Important American Paintings Auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s

See The City Review article on the Fall 1997 Important American Paintings auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1997 Important American Paintings auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's


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