American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture has several
and offers a broad and very good selection of Hudson River, genre,
still life, Impressionist, Western and Modern works.
It is highlighted by major works by Raphaelle Peale (I 774-1825),
Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Tompkins H. Matteson (1813-1884), Albert
Bierstadt (1830-1902), John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), Martin J.
Heade (18191904), E. Martin Hennings (1886-1956), William Merritt
Chase (1949-1916), Maurice B. Prendergast (18591924), Marsden
Hartley (1878-1943), George Bellows (1882-1925), William J. Glackens
(1870-1938), Charles Burchfield (1993-1967), Andrew Wyeth (b.
1917), and Norman Rockwell (18 94-1978).
Peale was the
eldest surviving son of Charles Willson Peale who liked to give
them names of famous Renaissance masters. Peale is best known
for his still-lifes and Lot 135, "Still Life with Fruit,
Cakes and Wine," is an exquisite example. Painted in 1821,
it measures 11 by 18 and has a conservative estimate of $700,000
to $1,000,000. It failed to sell as did about 18.5 percent
of the offered lots in this auction, which was not as successful
as the previous day's auction of American Paintings at Phillips
de Pury & Luxembourg but still bought forth some strong prices.
"His predilection for still life," the catalogue entry
noted, "was remarkable at the time, given that the traditional
European hierarchy of subjects - which the new world had inherited
from the old - ranked still life last in artistic significance
behind mythology, religion, history, portraiture and landscape
painting. In defiance of his father's wishes and despite the generally
accepted public view, Raphaelle Peale became America's first
still life painter, and the present painting is an exquisite,
newly discovered example of his work." This is a lovely and
very fine still life painting.
Lot 128, "Portrait of George Washington," is a 28 ¾-by-23
¾-inch oil on canvas by Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860), Raphaelle's
brother. The catalogue notes that it "has been erroneously
identified in a number of publications as being by Charles Willson
Peale. The lot, which the catalogue maintained was executed circa
1819, has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for
$493,500 including the buyer's premium as do all prices mentioned
in this article.
George Washington figures in two other important works in this
"The Inauguration of George Washington," is a 30-by-25-inch
oil on canvas by James H. Cafferty (1819-1869) and Charles G.
Rosenberg (1818-1879). It was painted, according to the catalogue
in the 1860s. This charming, arched painting is very similar to
"Wall Street, Half Past Two O'Clock, October 13, 1852,"
by the same painters that is one of the highlight of the painting
collection of the Museum of the City of New York. That painting
measures 50 by 39 1/2 inches.
This lot has an estimate
of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $229,500.
"George Washington at Valley Forge," is a good painting
by Tompkins H. Matteson (1813- 1894). Dated 1854, the oil on canvas
measures 36 by 48 inches and has an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000.
It sold for $262,500. The lot includes the
1/2-inch oil sketch on paper for the present work. This lot has
been consigned by the Sherburne Public Library. The artist settled
in Sherburne in 1850 and his known mostly for his genre paintings.
is famous as the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape
painting and Lot 145, "Catskill Mountain House," is
one of his prized works that glorified the Catskill Mountains
and shows the famous resort that was built in 1823 originally
as the Pine Orchard House and then became known as the Beach Mountain
House. An autumnal scene, it is distinguished by its very dramatic
rendering of a rainstorm above the resort structure and by a large
rock in the center foreground and what appears to be a major forest
fire at the far right. The unsigned work is quite sketchy especially
in the foreground. Cole's fame was based on his early paintings
of the Catskills that he executed in the late 1820s. This painting
has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. It failed to sell.
"Twilight in the Adirondacks," is a very good oil on
canvas by Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880). The painting is
dated 1864 and measures 10 ½ by 18 ½ inches and
has a very conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It
sold for $526,500.
"Wapiti," is a large Western sunset scene with some
elk in the foreground by Albert Bierstadt. The 30-by-50-inch oil
on canvas has some well-done trees, but the composition is not
up to the level of the artist's many masterpieces glorifying the
country's natural "manifest destiny." It has an ambitious
estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $834,500.
large Western picture with an even higher estimate is Lot 161,
"Black Knife, Apache Chief (An Apache War Chief, Reconnoitering
the Command of General Kearney on His March from Santa Fe to California
in the Year 1846)," by John Mix Stanley. This 41 ½-by-50
inch oil on canvas was painted in 1862 and has an ambitious estimate
of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It failed to sell.
This work is another version of the same subject that is in the
Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Stanley created an Indian Gallery of about 134 paintings that
was, according to the catalogue, "deposited" at the
Smithsonian Institution in 1852 and the other version of this
work was one of only five of his paintings that survived a fire
at the institution in 1865.
Stanley is one of the important early Western artistic chroniclers
of the West along with George Catlin, Karl Bodmer and Alfred Jacob
Miller but he did not develop as graceful a style as the others.
This painting was for many years in the collection of the Holyoke
(Mass.) Public Library.
Stanley, Catlin, Bodmer and Miller, of course, are infinitely
better than the illustrators who followed half a century or so
later such as Frederic Remington (1861-1909) and Charles Marion
"Cheyenne Scouts Patrolling the Big Timber of the North Canadian,
Oklahoma," is a good monochromatic Remington. The 28-by-18-inch
oil on panel en grisaille was painted about 1889 and has an estimate
of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $240,500.
Lot 186, "Thirsty," is a good and colorful 21-by-30-inch
watercolor on paper by Russell. Dated 1898, it has an estimate
of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $141,500.
The West did not lose its allure for artists in the 20th Century
and Lot 165 is a very fine work by E. Martin Hennings. Entitled
"At the Canyon Stream," this 30-by-36-inch oil on canvas
has a very interesting composition and a lovely soft palette.
Hennings joined the Taos Society of Artists in 1924 after moving
there in 1917 with the sponsorship of Carter H. Harrison Jr.,
the mayor of Chicago, and Oscar Mayer, the meat-packing magnate,
according to the catalogue. The estimate for this lot is $400,000
to $600,000. It failed to sell.
Another fine Hennings work is Lot 178, "Return from the Pack
Train." This 25 ¼-by-30-inch oil on canvas is notable
for its unusual yellow palette and strong vertical composition.
It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for
illustration of the catalogue is Lot 142, "Crimson Topaz
Hummingbirds Nesting in a Tropical Forest," by Martin J.
Heade. The 20-by-12-inch oil on canvas was painted circa 1870-1882
and has a conservative estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It
sold for $752,000.
Heade is known for his lush portraits of hummingbirds in their
natural settings, often with orchids, which is not the case with
this lot, his floral pictures, often of magnolia, his
pictures of New England, his coastal scenes, and his gremlins
in the studio. This a very fine Heade and was consigned by the
estate of Warner LeRoy, the famous restauranteur. The catalogue
quotes Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., the author of the catalogue raisonné
on the artist, that Heade's hummingbird studies "increasingly
dismayed ornithologists who pointed out that the birds are not
only difficult to see (being almost always in motion, with a wingbeat
of up to 200 per second), but that male and female are almost
never found together, particularly around the nest." Heade
has depicted a pair of these birds, one of which is resting on
a branch next to the other who is sitting in the nest.
Maria Oakey Dewing (1845-1927) is one of America's finest women
artists and the auction has two excellent examples of her work.
"Carnations," is a 24-by-18-inch oil on canvas that
is dated 1901. The wife of Thomas Wilmer Dewing, famed for his
poetic and lyrical depictions of women, Maria Oakey Dewing wrote
in her family papers that this work was her "finest achievement
in painting" and it was showcased at her 1907 exhibition
at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. William Merritt
Chase owned another version of this work. This work has a very
conservative estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for
"The Costumer," is a marvelous, exquisite and bold painting
by Maria Oakey Dewing that was executed in 1924. The 19 ¼-by-32
½-inch oil on canvas has a very conservative estimate of
$60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $71,700. It is the
of some of the best work by Thomas Eakins. The catalogue provides
the following commentary by Dr. Susan Hobbs, who is preparing
a catalogue raisonné on the artist:
"Although primarily known today as a painter of uniquely
personal and exquisite flower pictures, Maria Oakey Dewing was
also a portrait and figure painter of note. This work.is one of
her most mysterious and beautiful and it is a fine example of
that little-known aspect of her work."
Merritt Chase is widely regarded as America's finest Impressionist
painter and Lot 41, "Friendly Advice," is pretty good
proof. The 30-by-36-inch oil on canvas is very loosely painted
and has a very lovely quality of light coming through a tall window
and brightening the white dress of one of the two women seated
in a very opulent interior with tall marble columns. The work
was painted in 1913 and has a conservative estimate of $ 1,000,000
to $1,500,000. It failed to sell.
The catalogue notes that this "recently discovered"
painting was exhibited in Chase's gallery at the 1915 Panama-Pacific
International Exposition in San Francisco, the last major showing
of his work before his death. According to the catalogue, this
painting was executed in Venice.
Daniel Garber (18 80-195 8) is a later American Impressionist
who studied with Thomas Anshutz and Chase and Cecelia Beaux and
who favored greenish hues and Lot 34, "June," is an
excellent example of his work. The 36 ¼-by-44 ¼-inch
oil on canvas was painted in 1908 and was once in the collection
of Daniel J. Terra of Chicago. It has an estimate of $200,000
to $300,000. It sold for $427,500.
A lovely companion for the Garber would be Lot 25, "Boys
Fishing," by Willard L. Metcalf (1858- 1925). The 26-by-29-inch
oil on canvas was painted the same year as the Garber and has
an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It sold for $482,500.
Another idyllic and impressionistic work is Lot 26, "The
Two Hickory Trees (Golf Player)," by Child Hassam (1859-1935).
Painted in 1919, it shoes a woman golfer in front of two very
impressive tress. The 36-by-22-inch oil on canvas has a conservative
estimate of $200,000 to $300,000 and is one of Hassam's nicest
compositions. It failed to sell.
The cover illustration of the catalogue is Lot 27, "Painting
No. 6," by Marsden Hartley. The 40-by-30-inch oil on canvas,
shown at the top of this article, is a masterpiece of modern American
painting and has a very conservative estimate of $1,500,000 to
$2,000,000. It was painted in 1913. It sold for $2,759,500.
In this work, Hartley has synthesized Cézanne Picasso and
Kandinsky and created a very lush, vibrant, and powerful abstraction
that is not quite as saturated his paintings of a few years later
of German medals but more lyrical. The catalogue tells about a
visit to Hartley's studio in Paris by Gertrude Stein, Robert Delaunay,
Patrick Henry Bruce and Wilhelm Uhde, the German collector and
critic after which Uhde was said to remark "that the supernatural
quality of the work was superior to that in Redon's work and that
Hartley had achieved what Kandinsky was only attempting."
Uhde's comment about Kandinsky is particularly telling. Kandinsky's
incredible abstractions can be extremely precise and geometric
or wildly free and colorful but they do tend to be quite formal.
While this Hartley certainly abounds in geometries, its painterliness
and composition transcend formal theories and coalesce into an
extremely satisfying "world" that glories in its elements
and neighborliness and seems to abound in benevolent and harmonious
energy. The painting may have hung for a while in Gertrude Stein's
apartment, the catalogue noted.
In its warmth,
it is a fine companion to Lot 46, "The Deer Park," a
splendid oil on canvas by Maurice B. Prendergast. The painting
was executed circa 1914-5 and measures 24 by 32 inches. It has
an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It failed to sell.
With a rich and deep palette of greens and pinks and blues and
mosaic-like composition, this is one of the artist's best oils.
major work in the auction is Lot 61, "Evening Swell,"
by George Bellows, a 30-by-38 inch oil on canvas that is a very
great abstraction of two fisherman in a small boat near the breaking
surf beneath a huge, dark cliff. Painted on Monhegan Island in
Maine in 1911, this lot has a conservative estimate of $1,500,000
to $2,000,000 and is one of the artist's finest works. It
"29 Washington Square," is a fine oil on canvas, 25
by 30 inches, by William J. Glackens. Executed circa 1911-2, it
has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 80, "New York Fantasy," is a strong watercolor on
paper, 17 ¼ by 14 ½ inches, by John Marin (1870-1953).
Executed in 1912, it has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It
sold for $71,700.
Another excellent Marin is Lot 68, "Mountain Patterns, New
Mexico," a 15 ¾-by-21-inch watercolor on paper. Dated
1930, it has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for
has several excellent works by Charles Burchfield, the best of
which is Lot 72, "For the Beauty of the Earth," a 33-by-40-inch
watercolor and charcoal on paper mounted on board. Dated 1959,
this classic and beautiful Burchfield has an estimate of $250,000
to $350,000. It sold for $317,500.
Andrew Wyeth is also represented in the auction with several fine
"Seed Corn," is a 15 ½-by-21 ¾-inch tempera
on masonite. It depicts the attic in the Cushing, Maine, house
of Christina and Alvaro Olson which the artist used as a studio.
It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for
Another fine Wyeth is Lot 82, "The Reefer," a 30-by-22-inch
watercolor on paper that depicts the interior staircase of the
Pemaquid (Maine) Lighthouse. It was executed in 1977 and is a
study for a tempera painting of the subject executed the same
year. It has an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It sold for
One of Norman
Rockwell's most famous images, "Rosie The Riveter,"
is Lot 16. The 52-by-40-inch oil on canvas was the cover illustration
of the May 29, 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post and was
donated to the United States Treasury Department's Second War
Loan Drive that year. It has an ambitious estimate of $3,000,000
to $5,000,000. It sold for $4,959,500.
"Boats at Dieppe," is a very good oil on panel, 13 1/4
by 15 1/4 inches, by John H. Twachtman (1853-1902), one of America's
greatest impressionists. The painting had an estimate of $20,000
to $30,000 and sold for $130,500.
"Grand Canyon," is a very nice oil on canvas, 16 by
20 inches, by Thomas Moran (1837-1926). The 1921 painting had
an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000 and sold for $317,500.
A fine companion
piece is Moran's "Grand Canyon," is Albert Bierstadt's
"Grand Tetons," Lot 170, a 22-by-30-inch oil on paper
mounted on canvas. The painting had an estimate of $75,000 to
$100,000 and sold for $185,500.