Colin Cooper Campbell works, 30 in all, appear at Turner April 6

‘Study for Randolph Street, Chicago’ by Colin Campbell Cooper, estimated at $1,500-$2,500 at Turner Auctions + Appraisals.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO – The Saturday, April 6 sale at Turner Auctions + Appraisals features 76 works of art from a private collection in Northern California. Thirty of them are by the American Impressionist painter Colin Campbell Cooper (1856-1937). The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Cooper is best known as a painter of architectural scenes, especially the buildings of his native Philadelphia and the newly emerging so-called ‘modern’ cities of New York (where he lived from 1904 to 1921) and Chicago. Writing in 1911, a critic called him “the skyscraper artist par excellence of America”.

However, after his wife’s death in 1921, he moved to California and the Santa Barbara Community School of Arts. He said of his new environment: “I find Santa Barbara so conducive to the sort of things a painter most craves – climate, flowers, mountains, seascapes, etc. – with a community interest in all sorts of artistic matters that I am compensated, to a degree, for the isolation from that artistic universe of America”.

The 30 framed works offered here – many of them bought from the Sullivan Goss gallery in Santa Barbara – provide a cross-section of the artist’s oeuvre from Mediterranean street scenes to Californian cloud studies. Most are small-format plein air oil-on-board sketches, quickly worked by the artist to capture a moment before a larger work of the same subject was done in the studio.

In chronological order, they begin with an atmospheric oil sketch of Randolph Street, Chicago, estimated at $1,500-$2,500 and taken from LaSalle Street, with the colonnaded exterior City Hall building to the left. The finished work was pictured in the The Booklovers Magazine in 1905 – the same year the foundations of the City Hall sank, causing a gas pipe explosion that blew the roof off the building.

An oil-on-board sketch of the Palace of Fine Arts is offered with an estimate of $1,500-$2,500. Cooper – who had been inspired to become a painter after visiting the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 – exhibited in San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, winning a gold medal for oil painting and a silver medal for watercolor. While there, he created a series of paintings depicting the exposition’s buildings, including several large-scale oils of the Palace of Fine Arts, one of them sold by John Moran Auctioneers in Altadena, California in 2013 for $75,000.

Cooper’s series of cloud studies were much more personal works. Following the tradition of artists before him, he painted them in abundance, capturing the changeability of the Californian sky as it drifted above him. There are four examples on offer in the April 6 sale, including Clouds and Sun with Golden Rays, which is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

Signed documents from Marilyn Monroe, Lincoln, and Einstein cross the block at University Archives April 10

First photo believed to have been signed as ‘Marilyn Monroe’, estimated at $28,000-$35,000 at University Archives.

WILTON, Conn. – A vintage photograph of Marilyn Monroe taken circa 1947 and signed by the budding starlet, a 1935 two-page typewritten letter signed by Albert Einstein, and a handsome Civil War-dated military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln are just a few of the top lots at University Archives Wednesday, April 10 sale. The catalog is now available for bidding and review at LiveAuctioneers.

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) posed for this image around 1947, when she adopted her stage name and shed her birth name of Norma Jeane Mortenson. It also features an early ‘Marilyn Monroe’ signature that University Archives states is the earliest example known. PSA/DNA graded 10, the print has it all: photo quality, signature quality, and image composition. It has an estimate of $28,000-$35,000.

University Archives continues to bring interesting Albert Einstein correspondence to the market. This time it’s a two-page typewritten letter to friend and fellow physicist Cornelius Lanczos. In it, Einstein describes difficulties he had encountered when attempting to articulate the theory of general relativity through useful equations, challenges which he said “had cooled my confidence below the freezing point.” The letter carries an estimate of $24,000-$30,000.

A Civil War-dated military commission signed by President Abraham Lincoln and co-signed by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, dated July 1864, promoted Maryland-born career army officer Robert H. K. Whiteley. He had declined a command in the Confederate Army at the outset of the war, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Ordnance Department, tasked with overseeing Union munitions at Pittsburgh. The framed commission is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

Artist and inventor Samuel Morse spent years of his life defending (in court and in the court of public opinion) his claim that he had developed the telegraph independently. In this letter, dated November 11, 1861 and addressed to A.J. Goodman, Esq., Morse describes the origins of the telegraph. Morse had strenuously defended his intellectual property rights for the telegraph for 25 years prior to writing the letter. It is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

Paul Evans chairs and table, offered as separate lots, command $90K at PBMA

A set of six bronze sculpted side chairs by Paul Evans, dating to 1975, sold for $64,000 at Palm Beach Modern Auctions.

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. – Fans of American studio furniture artist Paul Evans (1931-1987) enjoyed an unusual opportunity at Palm Beach Modern Auctions (PBMA) on February 17. Offered as subsequent lots were a 1975 Paul Evans Stalagmite table and a set of six sculpted bronze side chairs. The signed and dated table, its base made from bronzed resin over steel, hammered for $21,000 ($26,800 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $9,000-$12,000, while the set of chairs, which were estimated at $25,000-$35,000, hammered for $50,000 ($64,000 with buyer’s premium). Full results for the auction can be seen at LiveAuctioneers.

Lurking in the lot images for each was a photograph of the May 1975 shipping order that dispatched them from Wisneski Furniture Delivery of Bayonne, New Jersey. The presence of this paperwork “bolstered the sale,” according to Wade Terwilliger, president of the auction house. “People who collected Paul Evans’ work in the 1960s and 1970s did so out of passion for the aesthetic and craftsmanship, and didn’t always keep receipts. The owners of the Stalagmite table and sculpted bronze chairs in our February 17th sale kept meticulous records and passed those on to their children,” he said. “We often have gallery provenance or correspondence, but the level of documentation accompanying these pieces is pretty rare.”

The shipping slip identified the table base as model PE102 and the chairs as model PE106. Though Paul Evans did not design the two as complementary furnishings, the consignor paired the table with the chairs in their home. “Though not specifically intended for use together, the table and chairs have a shared texture – so important to Evans’ pieces – that ties them together. There was a good deal of crossover bidding on the two lots, buyers intending to use them together,” Terwilliger said, and observed that bidding for both was “heated from all sources”. That intensity ultimately resulted in the table going home with one bidder and the chairs being claimed by another, an outcome that surprised Terwilliger.

He was unfazed by the chairs selling for more than the Stalagmite table, a Paul Evans form that he said is popular at auction in any size. “The chairs are quite a find, especially in sets of six or more – though this is an atypical set in that there were no captain’s chairs,” he said. “Typically, we’ve seen them sold as four or six side chairs plus two arm chairs. Maybe one or two sets come to auction per year, anywhere, and we were excited to offer these.”