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American Paintings

Sotheby's

10 A.M., May 21, 2009

Sale 8555

"Striking the Post" by Eastman

Lot 33, "Striking the Post," by Seth Eastman, watercolor on paper, 6 by 8 1/2 inches, 1852

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction of American Paintings at Sotheby's May 21, 2009 is highlighted by a great watercolor by Seth Eastman (1808-1875), some very pleasant 19th Century landscapes, a wonderful work by Thomas Hart Benton and a masterpiece by Alfred Henry Maurer.

The Eastman, Lot 33, is entitled "Striking the Post," and although it measures only 6 by 8 1/2 inches, it is a marvelous and important early study of American Indians at play by one of the nation's earliest and best painters of the West. It is dated 1852. It has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $68,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

"Bash Bish Falls" by Kensett

Lot 86, "Bash Bish Falls," by John F. Kensett, oil on canvas, 10 by 12 inches

Lot86, "Bash Bish Falls," is a very pleasant small oil on canvas by John F. Kensett (1816-1872). Bash Bish Falls, which is in the Berkshire Mountains, was one of the artist's favorite subjects and this scene is not specifically of the falls but it is very, very charming because of the two people on the very nice bridge. It is, indeed, one of the nicest Kensett sketches and has a very conservative estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It failed to sell.

"Sailing on the Lake" by Cropsey

Lot 11, "Sailing on the Lake," by Jasper Francis Cropsey, oil on canvas, 12 1/4 by 20 1/4 inches, 1873

Lot 11 is a classic and very beautiful landscape by Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900). Entitled "Sailing on the Lake," it is oil on canvas that measures 12 1/4 by 20 1/4 inches and was painted in 1873. The painting has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It failed to sell.

"Red Sails at Sunset (Sailing at Sunset)" by Silva

Lot 31, "Red Sails at Sunset (Sailing at Sunset)," by Francis A. Silva, oil on canvas, 15 by 30 inches, 1871

Francis A. Silva (1835-1886) is best known for his Luminist river landscapes and Lot 31 is a fine example. Entitled "Red Sails at Sunset (Sailing at Sunset)," it is an oil on canvas that measures 15 by 30 inches and was painted in 1871. The painting shows an area on the Hudson River near Newburgh. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It failed to sell.

"Sailing at Twilight" by Silva

Lot 84, "Sailing at Twilight," by Francis A. Silva,oil on canvas, 20 by 36 inches, 1877

Another Silva is Lot 84, "Sailing at Twilight," an oil on canvas that measures 20 by 36 inches. Painted in 1877, it is a lovely painting but is a bit unusual in its breaking waves and serious clouds that are something of a departure from the calm stillness of his more Luminist works. This painting, however, does have a fine quality of light. It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.

Lot 70, "Minerva Reflecting,"by William Holbrook Beard, charcoal on paper, 35t by 46 1/2 inches, circa 1870

William Holbrook Beard (1824-1900) is best known for his comic depictions of the bulls and bears, literally, of Wall Street and monkeys in business suits. He also, however, had a fondness for owls and Lot 70 is a very large charcoal drawing that depicts "Minerva Reflecting." It measures 35 by 46 1/2 inches and was drawn circa 1870. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $15,000.

Eakins studies

Lot 15, two of four studies for "The Fairman Rogers Four-in-Hand," by Thomas Eakins, oil on panels, each 10 1/4 by 14 1/2 inches, 1879

One of the masterworks by Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) is "The Fairman Rogers Four-in-Hand," an oil painting in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Lot 15 consists of four works, all oil on panel measuring 10 1/4 by 14 1/2 inches that were painted by the artist in 1879 as studies for that painting. The paintings are being sold by the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. to benefit its acquisitions program. The panels have been widely exhibited and written about and the lot has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $119,500.

"The Rendezvous" by Maurer

Lot 30, "The Rendezvous," by Alfred Henry Maurer, oil on canvas, 36 by 32 1/4 inches, circa 1904-5

Lot 30 is a very fine painting by Alfred Henry Maurer (1868-1932) entitled "The Rendezvous." An oil on canvas, it measures 36 by 32 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1904-5. It was once owner by William Merritt Chase and was exhibited in 1905 at the One Hundredth Anniversary Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The work is a stunningly abstract and enigmatic composition. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $398,500.

"Peregrine Falcon" by Havell

Lot 69, "Peregrine Falcon (Great-Footed Hawk)," by Robert Havell Jr., oil on canvas, 35 3/4 by 50 inches

Lot 69 is a dramatic and impressive painting of "Peregrine Falcon (Great-Footed Hawk)" by Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878). An oil on canvas, it measures 35 3/4 by 50 inches. Havell painted some fine early landscapes of the Hudson River area and also worked with James Audubon. It hasan estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It failed to sell.

"Newport" by Hassam

Lot 44, "Newport," by Childe Hassam, oil on canvas, 24 by 26 inches, 1901

Childe Hassam (1859-1935) was a prolific and popular painter who painted in many different Impressionist styles. Lot 44, "Newport," is a very fine composition with a subdued but subtle palette. It has a very fine impressionistic treatment of some of the clouds in the middle of the painting and of reflections in the water in the lower portion. The Metropolitan Museum of Art held a major retrospective in 2004 on Hassam (see The City Review article). It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $902,500.

Another Hassam in the auction is Lot 68, "Paris, Winter Day," an oil on canvas that measures 17 3/4 by 32 inches and was painted in 1887. The painting was once in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus McCormick of Winnetka, Illinois and was sold at Sotheby's a year ago for $3,961,000. A rather academic and not very exciting scene of a two-horse carriage in the street, this year it has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $2,322,500.

"Three Figures" by Benton

Lot 45, "Three Figures," by Thomas Hart Benton, oil on canvas, 24 by 24 inches, circa 1914-5

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was best known for his consistent curvilinear style that greatly animated the realism of his compositions of classic American subjects and landscapes and also influenced Jackson Pollock. Lot 45 is a very stunning, dramatic and unusual painting by Benton that harkens to the expressionism of Pontormo and even El Greco. It has a very conservative estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 and has been widely exhibited. It sold for $110,500.

"Lightly Falling Snow" by Wiggins

Lot 48, "Lightly Falling Snow," by Guy Carleton Wiggins, oil on canvas, 34 by 40 inches, circa1917

Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883-1962) is best known for his medium-size oil paintings of Manhattan in snowstorms and those paintings tend to be formulaic and not terribly impressive. A better than average and colorful example of which is Lot 64, "Broad Street in Winter," which has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. Lot 48, however, is a winter landscape that demonstrates that Wiggins had a lot of talent. Entitled "Lightly Falling Snow," it is an oil on canvas that measures 34 by 40 inches and was painted circa 1917. It is very beautiful and has much of the poetry one expects to find in the work of John Twachtman. It is being sold, inexplicably, by the Art Institute of Chicago and has a very modest estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $20,000.

"Forest Peace" by Carlson

Lot 49, "Forest Peace," by John Fabian Carlson,oil on canvas, 40 by 52 inches, circa 1930

Lot 49 is a superb winter landscape by John Fabian Carlson (1875-1945). An oil on canvas, it measures 40 by 52 inches and was painted circa 1930. Its provenance includes the Macbeth Gallery, Vose Galleries and the Babcock Galleries, which gae the artist an exhibition in 1993. The painting has an extraordinarily impressive brushwork and a modest estimate of $50,000 to $75,000. It sold for $68,500.

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Luxembourg

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

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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

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

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

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