of American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture at Sotheby's May
24, 2006, is highlighted by an excellent Francis A. Silva (1835-1886),
two superb beach scenes by Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910),
a good Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), a superb Marsden Hartley
(1878-1943), a ravishing painting by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925),
two fine pictures of children by Eastman Johnson (1824-1906),
two ravishing paintings by Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939),
an interesting work by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) and two good
works by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). While there are no blockbusters,
the auction is quite strong with many good works.
A. Silva is an important Luminist painter and Lot 11, "On
The Hudson, Nyack," is one of his masterpieces. An oil on
canvas that measures 12 by 24 inches, it is dated 1871 and was
included in the retrospective of the artist at the Berry-Hill
Galleries in 2002. It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.
It sold for $1,472,000 including the buyer's premium as do
all results mentioned in this article. The sale was quite successful
with almost 80 percent of the offered lots selling for about $60,000
and numerous lots significantly exceeding their high estimates.
Whittredge is one of the major second generation artists of the
Hudson River School. He is best known for his dense forest scenes
in the Northeast and scenes of the Plains, but he also produced
some beautiful beach scenes of which Lot 11, "Sakonnet Point,
Rhode Island," is a fine example. An oil on canvas that measures
15 by 22 1/2 inches, it was executed circa 1880. The painting
is property from the Walter Knight Sturges Collection. The catalogue
notes that similar views of Sakonnet Point by Whittredge are in
the collections of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas,
and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington. It has
a conservative estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for
Lot 22 is
a smaller beach scene by Whittredge that was painted in 1866.
Entitled "The Clam Diggers," it is an oil on canvas
that measures 10 1/2 by 23 1/4 inches. It has a conservative estimate
of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $464,000.
by Whittredge are similar in spirit and quality to some of the
finest beach scenes by Sanford Robinson Gifford and John Frederick
Kensett, his Hudson River School colleagues.
Lot 29 is
a very strong composition by Albert Bierstadt entitled "Cascading
Falls at Sunset." An oil on canvas, it measures 24 by 18
inches and was painted between 1863 and the 1870s. "While
the painting is smaller in scale than many of the more grandiose
productions, the resulting impact is one of drama and grandeur,"
the catalogue entry for the lot observes. The lot has a conservative
estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $604,000.
Bierstadt work, Lot 36, "Vernal Falls," is a dramatic
depiction of a waterfall, but it is not as finely painted and
the composition, while good, is also inferior to Lot 29's. It
is an oil on canvas that measures 30 1/4 by 21 3/4 inches. The
lot has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for
The bright spot at the lower center is rather unusual for Bierstadt
for it is heavily impastoed.
Lot 33 is
a good "Sunrise" oil on canvas by Bierstadt that measures
26 by 36 inches. The painting was once with the Vose Galleries
in Boston. It measures 26 by 36 inches and has an estimate of
$400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $553,000. The sun
rather sharply delineated in the sunset but otherwise the quality
of light is impressive.
by Maria Oakley Dewing, is fabulous. The 24-by-40 1/2-inch oil
on canvas was once in the collection of Mrs. Whitelaw Reid. The
artist studied under John La Farge and married Thomas Wilmer Dewing,
the artist famous for his ethereal portraits of elegant women.
The painting, which has a frame designed by Stanford White, has
an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for
It was sold at Sotheby's May 24, 2000, when it had an estimate
of $200,000 to $300,000, for $1,160,750 including the buyer's
Sargent is an uneven artist, but at his best he is extremely painterly
and as full of authority and bravura as any artist imbued with
Rubenesque passion for virtuosity. Lot 72 is not one of his supreme
masterpieces, but it is very, very, very good. An oil on canvas,
it is entitled "Cashmere Shawl (Dorothy Barnard and Nicola
D'Inverno)" and measures 28 by 21 1/2 inches. It was executed
in 1910 and has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. There
is some evident craquelure in the left center and top right. It
failed to sell.
139, "Storm Down
Pine Point Way, Old Orchard Beach," is an important oil on
masonite by Marsden Hartley. Executed in 1941-3, it measures 22
by 29 inches. Hartley was greatly influenced by Albert Pinkham
Ryder, whose moonlight sailboat scenes are abstract masterpieces.
Hartley is best known for these Ryderesque seascapes, his German
military medal pictures, his American Indian mythological works
and for landscapes: he painted in a number of different styles.
This work was sold at Sotheby's December 3, 2003 for $2,360,000
when it had an estimate of $700,000 to $900,000. The estimate
for this auction is $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for
(See The City Review article on a
175 is a very beautful
pastel on paper by Hartley entitled "Birch Trees." It
measures 18 1/4 by 12 1/4 inches and was executed in 1909. It
has a very modest estimate of $25,000 to $45,000. It sold for
Johnson is one of
the nation's great genre painters and Lot 32, "Little Girl
with Red Jacket Drinking from Mug," is a superb example of
his painterliness. An oil on board, it measures 14 1/4 by 11 inches.
The charming painting, which was once in the collection of Electra
Webb Bostwick of Shelburne, Vermont, has an estimate of $50,000
to $70,000. It sold for $60,000.
other Johnson, Lot 25,
"The Lesson (With Page N.O.P. of the Alphabet Book),"
is an oil on board that measures 21 1/2 by 19 inches. It was executed
in 1874 and has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold
Wood Perry (1831-1915)
was one of the finest American genre painters whose best works
had extremely strong compositions and excellent light. Lot 30,
"Going for a Ride," an oil on canvas that measures 15
1/2 by 22 1/2 inches, is a fine example of his oeuvre, which does
not appear often at auction, and has a very modest estimate of
$15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $24,000.
is a dramatic view
of Niagara Falls with a rainbow at sunset as seen from the Canadian
side by George Loring Brown (1814-1889). An oil on canvas, it
measures 33 by 71 3/4 inches and was executed around 1861, a few
years after Frederic Church painted his famous and similar scene
now in the collection of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. The
lot has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It has a scratch
in the top left corner. It sold for $408,000.
was one of the most important American Impressionists whose long
career embraced many quite different painting styles. Lot 48,
"A Paris Nocturne," is a very pleasant oil on canvas
that was executed circa 1889. It measures 27 1/4 by 20 1/4 inches
and has an ambitious estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It
sold for $3,152,000. It was once in the collection of Richard
Manoogian of Detroit and exhibiting in the important traveling
exhibition of his collection that tourned several major museums
in 1989 and 1990.
52 is a much later Hassam
painting in a much different style. Entitled "Easthampton
Elms in May," it is an oil on canvas that measures 15 by
20 inches. Executed in 1920, it has a modest estimate of $400,000
to $600,000. It is very painterly. It sold for$884,000.
63 is a very lovely
oil on canvas by Willard L. Metcalf (1858-1925) entitled "Purple,
White and Gold." Executed in 1903, it measures 28 by 18 inches.
It will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonée
on Metcalf being authored by Dr. Bruce W. Chambers, Ira Spanierman,
Dr. William H. Gerdts and Elizabeth de Veer. It has a modest estimate
of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $180,000.
W. Redfield (1869-1965)
is one of the major Pennsylvania Impressionists and Lot 69, "Road
to the River," is a quite beautiful and impressive example
of his style. Executed circa 1920, it is an oil on canvas that
measures 50 by 56 inches. It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000
and was once in the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art
in Washington. It sold for $744,000. The painting
be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonée on Redfield
being authored by Dr. Thomas Folk.
paintings of the Brooklyn
Bridge by Joseph Stella (1880-1946) are widely considered some
of the most important American Modernist works of the 20th Century.
Lot 143 is a good watercolor study for the series that measures
20 3/4 by 16 1/2 inches and was executed in 1922. It has a modest
estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $168,000.
146, "Mask with
Golden Apple," is an oil on canvas by Georgia O'Keeffe that
measures 9 by 16 inches and was executed in 1921. According to
the catalogue entry, it "stands as a unique example among
O'Keeffe's still-life paintings" and apparently is the only
African mask that she used as a subject in her paintings. The
artist displayed two African masks that belonged to Alfred Stieglitz
in her home that Charles C. Eldredge has observed "were among
the very few artworks by others which she tolerated having in
her home." The work has a modest estimate of $250,000 to
$350,000. It sold for $486,000.
138 is an excellent
pastel on paper of an alligator pear mounted on board by Georgia
O'Keeffe. It measures 12 1/4 by 10 inches and was executed in
1923 and shown at Alfred Stieglitz's Anderson Gallery the following
year when it was bought by Paul Strand. The work has been shown
at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and has been requested
for a forthcoming exhibition, "Georgia O'Keeffe: Circling
Around Abstraction," that is scheduled for the North Museum
of Art, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Minneapolis Institute
of Arts. The lot is the back-cover illustration of the catalouge
and it has a modest estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold
125 is a very fine oil
on board by Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) entitled "Keith
Farm, Chilmark." It measures 21 by 29 inches and was executed
in 1955. Chilmark is on Martha's Vineyard. This work is being
sold by the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts, and
will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonée
on Benton being prepared by Dr. Henry Adams, Jessie Benton, Anthony
Benton Gude and Michael Owen. It has a modest estimate of $350,000
to $650,000. It sold for $1,808,000.
C. Frieseke (1874-1939)
is one of the late American Impressionists who developed a distinctly
colorful and radiant style and whose best works are gorgeous and
very painterly masterpieces. Lot 44, "The Old-Fashioned Gown,"
is such a work. An oil on canvas, it measures 32 by 25 1/2 inches
and was executed circa 1919. The painting will be included in
Nicholas Kilmer's forthcoming catalogue raisonée on Frieseke.
It has a modest estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. Renoir would
have held his breath in front of this dazzling work. It sold
64 is another fine Frieseke
that is entitled "The Parasol." An oil on canvas that
is 32 1/2 inches square, it has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.
It sold for $620,800. While it is a good
a marvelous treatment of the tree leaves and bushes, it does not
have the bravura of Lot 44 in which the lowered head, the revealed
shoulder and the bold patterning of the wall paper envelope the
viewer in a romantic reverie.
135, "South Cushing,"
is a strong painting of a farm horse by Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917).
A tempera on panel, it measures 27 1/2 by 36 1/2 inches. Executed
in 1955, it was exhibited in President Dwight D. Eisenhower's
Office at the White House from November 1955 to January 1956.
It has an ambitious estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It
sold for $4,384,000. It will be included in the forthcoming
catalogue raisonée on Wyeth being prepared by Betsy James
was a master of surreal photorealism reknown for his brilliant,
enamel-like surfaces and almost psychedelic palette. Lot 46, "the
Old Glen Mill," is an oil on masonite that measures 23 by
18 1/2 inches. Executed in 1950, it has an estimate of $400,000
to $600,000. It sold for $716,000.
Marine," by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) is a major work by
America's best 20th Century illustrator. An oil on canvas, it
measures 46 by 42 inches and was published on the cover of the
October 13, 1945 edition of the Saturday Evening Post. It has
an estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It sold for
The catalogue includes four photographs taken by Gene Pelham that
served as studies for the work. It also includes the following
quotation from Christopher Finch, the author of "Norman Rockwell's
America": "Rockwell is far from being a warlike person;
he is, on the contrary, a gentleman in the literal sense of the
world. Yet the war brought out the best in him and turned him
toward the naturalistic portrait of home-town America which he
put to good use in the decades that followed. His immediate
to the war effort on the home front was quite considerable. What
is most important about this period, in relation to his career
as an illustrator, is the fact that he was given an opportunity
to prove to himself and to others that he was capable of dealing
with serious subjects without abandoning the human touch which
had always been his trademark."
97, "Hoodlum Street,"
is a more artistic work byRockwell than Lot 45. An oil on canvas
that measures 26 by 54 inches, it was executed in 1947 and illustrated
a story by Don Tracy in the May 1947 issue of American
It has an estimate of $700,000 to $900,000. It sold for