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American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture

Sotheby's

10:15 AM, May 22, 2002

Sale 7802

"Painting No. 6" by Marsden Hartley

Lot 27, "Painting No. 6," by Marsden Hartley, oil on canvas, 40 by 30 inches, 1913

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction of American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture has several masterworks 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).

"Still Life with Fruit, Cakes and Wine" by Raphaelle Peale

Lot 135, "Still Life with Fruit, Cakes and Wine," by Raphaelle Peale, oil on panel, 11 by 18 inches, 1821

Raphaelle 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 professional 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 auction.

"The Inauguration of George Washington" by James M. Cafferty and Charles G. Rosenberg

Lot 150, "The Inauguration of George Washington," by James M. Cafferty and Charles G. Rosenberg, oil on canvas, 30 by 25 inches

Lot 150, "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" by Tompkins H. Matteson

Lot 131, "George Washington at Valley Forge, " by Tompkins H Matteson. oil on canvas 36 by 48 inches, 1854

Lot 131, "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 artist's 16-by-21 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.

"Catskill Mountain House" by Thomas Cole

Lot 145, Catskill Mountain House," by Thomas Cole, oil on canvas, 28 ½ by 36 ½ inches, painted in 1843-4

Thomas Cole 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" by Sanford Gifford

Lot 122, "Twilight in the Adirondacks," by Sanford Robinson Gifford, oil on canvas, 10 1/2 by 18 1/2 inches, 1864

Lot 122, "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" by Albert Bierstadt

Lot 132, "Wapiti," by Albert Bierstadt," oil on canvas, 30 by 50 inches

Lot 132, "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.

"Black Knife" by John Mix Stanley

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, oil on canvas, 41 1/2 by 50 inches, 1862

Another 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 Russell (1864-1926).

Lot 162, "Cheyenne Scouts Patrolling the Big Timber of the North Canadian, Oklahoma," by Frederick Remington, oil on panel en grisaille, 28 by 18 inches, 1889

Lot 162, "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 $284,500.

"Crimson Topaz Hummingbirds Nesting in a Tropical Forest" by Martin J. Heade

Lot 142, "Crimson Topaz Hummingbirds Nesting in a Tropical Forest," by Martin J. Heade, oil on canvas, 20 by 12 inches, 1870-1882

The back-cover 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 saltmarsh/haystack 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" by Maria Oakey Dewing

Lot 37, "Carnations," by Maria Oakey Dewing, oil on canvas, 24 by 18 inches, 1901

Lot 37, "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 $405,500.

"The Costumer" by Maria Oakey Dewing

Lot 57, "The Costumer," by Maria Oakey Dewing, oil on canvas, 19 ¼ by 32 ½ inches, 1924

Lot 57, "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 equal 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."

"Friendly Advice" by William Merritt Chase

Lot 41, "Friendly Advice, by William Merritt Chase, oil on canvas, 30 by 36 inches, 1913

William 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.

"The Deer Park," by Maurice Prendergast

Lot 46, "The Deer Park," by Maurice B. Prendergast, oil on canvas 24 by 32 inches, 1914-5

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.

"Evening Swell" by George Bellows

Lot 61 "Evening Swell,"by George Bellows, oil on canvas, 30 by 38 inches. 1911

Another 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 sold for $2,539,500.

"29 Washington Square" by William J. Glackens

Lot 78, "29 Washington Square," by William J. Glackens, oil on canvas, 25 by 30 inches, 1911-2

Lot 78, "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 $95,600.

"For The Beauty of The Earth" by Charles Burchfield

Lot 72, "For The Beauty of The Earth," by Charles Burchfield, watercolor and charcoal on paper mounted on board, 33 by 40 inches, 1959

The auction 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 works.

Lot 75, "Seed Corn," by Andrew Wyeth, tempera on masonite, 15 1/2 by 21 3/4 inches

Lot 75, "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 $779,500.

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 $147,000.

"Rosie the Riveter" by Norman Rockwell

Lot 16, "Rosie the Riveter," by Norman Rockwell, oil on canvas, 52 by 40 inches, 1943

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" by John H. Twachtman

Lot 30, "Boats at Dieppe," by John H. Twachtman, oil on panel, 13 1/4 by 15 1/4 inches

Lot 30, "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" by Thomas Moran

Lot 177, "Grand Canyon," by Thomas Moran, oil on canvas, 16 by 20 inches, 1921

Lot 177, "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.

"Grand Tetons" by Albert Bierstadt

Lot 170, "Grand Tetons," by Albert Bierstadt," oil on paper mounted on canvas

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.


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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