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American Paintings

Sotheby's New York

10 A.M., May 22, 2013


Sale 8996

Sargent puppets



Lot 14, "Marionettes (Behind the Curtain)," by John Singer Sargent, oil on canvas, 29 by 21 3/4 inches, 1903

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction of American Paintings May 22, 2013 at Sotheby's New York is highlighted by good works by John Singer Sargent, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Irving Ramsey Wiles, Stuart Davis, William Keith and Alfred Jacob Miller.

The cover illustration of the catalogue is Lot 14, "Marionettes (Behind the Curtain)," by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925).  An oil on canvas, it measures 29 by 21 3/4 inches and was painted in 1903. It has been widely exhibited and published.  It has an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000.  It sold for $5,205,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.  The sale only contained 62 lots and 52 of them, or 83.9 percent, sold for $28,087,750.

Three excellent watercolors by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) were consigned to the auction by the Bank of America Collection that had acquired them from The Boatmen's National Bank of St. Louis, Missouri.

Horseback

Lot 51, "War Path,"  by Alfred Jacob Miller, oil, pencil and ink on paper 9 by 12 1/4 inches

One of the earliest fine artists to travel to the West, Alfred Jacob Miller had an extraordinary excellent eye for detail and a very sweet, romantic style.  Lot 51 is an excellent, oil, pencil and ink on paper by him that measures 9 by 12 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $365,000.

Miller Buffalo


Lot 52, "Two Indians Killing a Buffalo," by Alfred Jacob Miller, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 9 1/4 by 14 3/4 inches

Lot52 is a watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper by Miller that is entitled "Two Indians Killing a Buffalo."  It measures 9 1/4 by 14 3/4 inches.
Buffalo detail

Detail of Lot 52


 It has an an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $161,000.


Miller wagons

Lot 53, "Departure of the Caravan at Sunrise," by Alfred Jacob Miller, oil, ink, pencil and watercolor on paper mounted on paperboard, 8 by 14 1/4 inches


Lot 53 is entitled "Departure of the Caravan at Sunrise" by Miller and  it is an oil, ink, pencil and watercolor on paper mounted on paperboard.  It measures 8 by 14 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000.  It sold for $185,000.


Keith

Lot 50, "Yosemite Valley," by William Keith, oil on canvas, 48 1/4 by 80 1/4 inches, 1876

William Keith (1839-1911) is a major Western artist who was based in California but is relatively little known in the east.  Lot 50 is an excellent scene by him of Yosemite Valley that was painted in 1876.  An oil on canvas, it measures 48 1/4 by 80 1/4 inches and it was consigned by Twin Towers, a life enriching community in Cincinnati.  It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000.  It sold for $755,000!


Homer beach

Lot 31, "Waiting," by Winslow Homer, graphite and watercolor on paper, 8 by 13 3/4 inches, 1884

Lot 31 is a nice sepia graphite and watercolor on paper entitled "Waiting" by Winslow Homer (1836-1910).  It measures 8 by 13 1/4 inches and was drawn in 1884.  It is property of the collection of David C. Copley of La Jolla, California.  It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000.  It sold for $125,000.


Homer girls

Lot 15, "Two Girls," by Winslow Homer, pencil on paper, 10 by 10 1/2 inches, 1879

Lot 15 is a lovely pencil on paper sketch of "Two Girls" by Winslow Homer.  It measures 10 by 10 1/2 inches and is dated 1879.  It was once owned by Arthur B. Davies, a member of the Ash Can School and an organizer of the 1913 Armory Show.  It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.  It sold for $106,500.


Gifford

Lot 12, "Indians at Sunset (Sunset in the Wilderness)," by Sanford Robinson Gifford, oil on canvas, 8 1/2 by 14 1/2 inches, circa 1859

Lot 12 is a pleasant sunset scene of two Indians standing by a lake by Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880).  An oil on canvas, it measures 8 1/2 by 14 1/2 inches and was painted circa 1859.  It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $173,000.

Inness


Lot 49, "Perugian," by George Inness, oil on canvas, 72 by 54 inches,1872

Lot 49 is a large and very good Italian scene by George Inness (1825-1894) entitled "Perugia."  An oil on canvas, it measures 72 by 54 inches and was painted in 1872.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It was passed at $140,000.

Wiles restaurant

Lot 46, "The Corner Table," by Irving Ramsey Wiles, oil on canvas, 20 by 26 inches, 1886

Lot 46 is a lovely oil on canvas by Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948) entitled "The Corner Table."  It measures 20 by 26 inches and was painted in 1886.  It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.  It sold for $635,000.

Cassatt

Lot 32, "Study for 'Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading'" by Mary Cassatt, oil on canvas, 18 by 15 inches, circa 1909

Lot 32 is a very pleasant study for "Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading" by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926).  An oil on canvas, it measures 18 bt 15 inches and was painted circa 1909.  It is property from the collection of David C. Copley of La Jolla, California.  It has an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000.  It sold for $317,000.

Parrish Edison

Lot 35, "Prometheus," by Maxfield Parrish, oil on panel, 31 by 21 1/4 inches, 1919

Lot 35, "Prometheus," an oil on panel by Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) was commissioned by the General Electric Company in 1919 and the top of the painting has a banner for "Edison Mazda," one of the company's products.  The painting is an oil on panel that measures 31 by 21 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $845,000.

Bellows

Lot 7, "Sunlit Surf," by George Bellows, oil on panel, 15 by 19 1/2 inches, 1913

Lot 7 is a wonderful coastal oil on panel by George Bellows (1882-1925) that was painted at Monhegan Island in Maine in 1913. Entitled "Sunlit Surf," it measures 15 by 19 1/2 inches.


Bellows detail

Detail of Lot 7

The lot has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.  It failed to sell and was passed at $260,000.


Fechin

Lot 10, "At Home in New York," by Nicolai Fechin, oil on canvas laid down on board, 18 by 22 inches, 1924

The best painting in the auction in terms of virtusoity and painterliness and color is Lot 10, "At Home in New York," by Nicolai Fechin ((1881-1955).  Born in Kazan  near the Volga River, Fechin came to New York in 1923 and painted this work the following year.  His wife, Alexandra, known as Tinka, was the model.  An oil on canvas laid down on board, it measures 18 by 22 inches. 


Fechin detail

Detail of Lot 10

The painting is property of the collection of David C. Copley of La Jolla, California.  It has a modest estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $413,000.

Stuart Davis

Lot 8, "Summer Landscape #2," by Stuart Davis, oil on canvas, 8 by 12 1/4 inches, 1940

Lot 8 is a superb and extremely colorful small oil on canvas by Stuart Davis (1892-1964) entitled "Summer Landscape #2."  It measures 8 by 12 1/4 inches and was painted in 1940.  It is belongs to the Nevada Museum and was exhibited in the retrospective on the artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1991 and 1992.  It has aa modest estimate of $200,000 to $400,000.  It sold for $461,000.


Stanton McDonald-Wright


Lot 9, "Trumpet Flowers," by Stanton Macdonald-Wright, oil on canvas, 18 1/8 by 13 1/8 inches, 1919

Lot 9 is an important and lovely oil on canvas by Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890-1973) and has been exhibited in several major retrospectives on the artist.  Entitled "Trumpet Flowers," it measures 18 1/8 by 13 1/8 inches and was painted in1919.

In 1913, Macdonald-Wright and Morgan Russell founded Synchronism and the catalogue entry notes that it "existed in relatively obscurity for many years" but MacDonald-Wright "contributed immensely to the dialogue on abstraction in the first decades of the 20th century."  

"The Synchronist reverence of color as the most fundamental means of expression would prove profoundingly influential on the development of modern art in the United States," the catalogue noted, adding that Macdonald-Wright met Russell in 1911 and Russell introduced him to the ideas of Percyval Tudor-Hart, a Canadian painter and color theorist working in Paris at the time.  Tudor-Hart shared the painters' interest in exploring the musical character of color, and designed a complex system of relating specific colors to specific musical notes in varying octaves.  In 1913, Macdonald-Wright and Russell held exhibits in Munich and Paris and they received wide critcal and public attention and Macdonald-Wright went to New York were he exhbited at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 Gallery."

The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $785,000.

Twachtman snow

Lot 43, "Snow," by John Henry Twachtman, oil on canvas, 26 by 32 inches, circa 1895

Lot 43, "Snow," is a very beautiful and quite abstract snow landscape by John Henry Twachtman, the most poetic of American Impressionists.  An oil on canvas, it measures 26 by 32 inches and was painted circa 1895.  It is property from the collection of Edward P. Evans and was formerly in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection in Washington, D.C. It has a modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $269,000.



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