Previews and Special Event
Previews for the auction will be 12 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18th; 12 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 19th; and 12 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20th. On Thursday, May 19th, there will be a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6:30 p.m. by a gallery walk conducted by Skinner Paintings Director Colleene Fesko. Reservations are limited for the event; all those interested in attending should R.S.V.P. to 617-350-5400.
Illustrated catalogue #2275 is available by mail for $32 ($39 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240. It is also available at the gallery for $29. For more information on the auction, auction preview times, and the gallery walk, call 978-779-6241, or visit www.skinnerinc.com.
Skinner, Inc. one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host an auction of American and European paintings on Friday, May 20th, at its Boston gallery. Opening at 6:00 p.m., the sale will feature paintings ranging from the 18th to the 20th century. Highlights will include works by artists such as Alexander Calder, Rockwell Kent, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Maxfield Parrish, and Charles Courtney Curran. The sale also features deaccessions from the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts, the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, and the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.
The auction will offer a significant group of Alexander Calder creations, gifts from the artist which have been passed through the family to the current owner. Born to a family of artists, Calder began creating his own works at an early age. He explored several mediums early on, but found sculpting with wire and metal to be his preferred form of expression. Highlighting the Skinner offerings is an untitled, polychromed standing mobile metal sculpture, c. 1960 (lot 460, $40/60,000). Also featured are four gouaches (lot 463, $10/15,000; lot 461, $10/15,000; lot 462, $8/12,000; and lot 464, $8/12,000), each signed or inscribed.
American Landscape and Genre
Also featured will be an intriguing selection of American works. Leading examples include Venus Veiling Pandora by Charles Courtney Curran (lot 398, $20/30,000), which will be included in Kaycee Benton's forthcoming catalogue raisonné. According to Dr. Benton, the work “was one of a series of eight allegorical paintings that Curran painted during the month of November of 1914. He states in his record book that this series of paintings were made as studies to indicate effects for the Ballet of Pandora's Box. Curran's painting Venus was #7 of the series." The former owner of the painting, Dr. Maximilian Toch, was a friend of the artist as well as a chemistry professor. "One of the benefits that Curran received from their close association and friendship," according to Dr. Benton, "is that Dr. Toch supplied Curran throughout his career with special paints and varnishes."
Additional highlights in the sale include Just Shot, by Rockwell Kent (lot 171, $150/250,000). An extraordinary personality, Kent was a critically acclaimed painter, muralist, printmaker, book illustrator, graphic artist, expert on typography, architect, builder, and craftsman. Over the course of his life, Kent lived in Maine, Newfoundland, Alaska, Greenland, and the Adirondacks. He was also an author, lecturer, explorer, farmer, dairyman, social activist, and amateur politician. His individuality, nonconformist views, and outspoken support of leftist causes during the early 20th century through the 1950s brought him denunciation at the height of his career, a situation which was rectified towards the end of his life and after his death. Since the 1970s, his work has been the focus of numerous exhibitions and the demand for it has created a whole new generation of collectors. The first owner of this painting was a friend of the artist and an artist in her own right. Kent also created a bookplate for her.
Buyers and collectors of American and European paintings can always count on Skinner for a good selection of 20th century landscapes in their auctions. Bidders on May 20th will find, among others, Woodland Interior, c. 1935 by Emile Albert Gruppe (lot 191, $10/15,000), and Temple Hills, by William Jurian Kaula (lot 198, $10/15,000). Kaula was best known for his New England landscapes. His plein-air style borrowed the loose brushstroke of the French impressionists, but substituted a more tonalist palette, often built on cool greens, blues, and purples, rather than depending on the pure primary colors. This, in conjunction with smaller, more controlled brushwork, gave his landscapes a more subtly balanced mood while capturing the fleeting effects of weather and atmosphere. American landscapes also will include Autumn Landscape at West Townshend, Vermont, by Aldro Thompson Hibbard (lot 257, $12/14,000), and Arthur Clifton Goodwin's Boston Street Scene and Wharf View/A Double-Sided Work (lot 297, $15/25,000).
Highlighting 19th and 20th century American genre is Autumn Repose/Portrait of a Woman and Dog in a Landscape by Clement Rollins Grant (lot 381, $10/15,000). While Grant is known as both a portraitist and a landscape painter, the work presented here encompasses his mature style. Later examples in the sale include a decorative cover from Collier's by Maxfield Parrish, signed and dated "Maxfield Parrish June 1908" (lot 480, $20/30,000), and the more contemporary Portrait of a Woman Before a Window by Alfred H. Maurer (lot 468, $7/9,000).
Western/ Californian Offerings
From the West, the sale offers a number of California paintings, including View to the Distant Hills by Maurice Braun (lot 177, $20/30,000), In the Saloon, by Florencio Molina Campos (lot 178, $8/12,000), and Bad News at a Pony Express Station, by Herman W. Hansen (lot 180, $15/25,000). Also featured will be an appealing series of paintings by Mexican artist Francisco Zuniga. These include Two Women (lot 405, $20/40,000), as well as Three Bathers, Dos Mujeres con Rebozos, and Tres Mujeres (lots 406, 407, and 408, respectively, $5/10,000 each).
Head of Victory, Nikh-Eiphnh, Second Version by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (lot 396, $30/50,000) tops a fine selection of sculpture in the auction. The work was begun as a study for the Sherman Monument, dedicated to the Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891). The monument, depicting Sherman on horseback, being led by a striding allegorical figure of victory, now stands outside New York's Central Park in the grand army Plaza. Although, in the end, Saint-Gaudens did not use this model as his final “Sherman Monument” Victory, he favored the piece enough to cast it separately. According to a Metropolitan Museum of Art website article, "…the Head of Victory served as a study for the one-cent piece, the ten-dollar gold piece, and the twenty-dollar gold piece," and Saint-Gaudens even executed a large relief medallion based on this composition.