CRANSTON, R.I. – A painting by the Dutch Impressionist Siebe Johannes Ten Cate (1858-1908) sold for $4,688, and a jazz-themed lithograph by the renowned African American artist Romare Howard Bearden (N.Y./N.C., 1911-1988) hit $2,125, in an Estate Fine Art & Antiques Auction held Aug. 27 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
“The Siebe Johannes Ten Cate painting (above) was the surprise of the day,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. auctioneer and the firm’s director of Pop Culture. “We knew the subject matter was strong for the artist but recent records had been depressed. This certainly shows the market is there for good imagery.” The painting was the top earner of the 344 lots that came up for bid.
The work, a fine example of Dutch Impressionism, depicted a fisherman on a riverbank outside a city beneath a bright blue sky. It was housed in the original period carved wood frame that still had an old exhibition label on recto. The board was 10½ inches by 13 ¾ inches; the frame was 18½ inches by 21¼ inches. The painting was signed and dated “Ten Cate 1903.”
Although Dutch by birth, Siebe Johannes Ten Cate spent most of his working life in France. Van Gogh was an acquaintance; he once described Ten Cate as “a very neat man, completely dressed in black cloth, and not at all like a typical poor artist.” His favorite subjects were landscapes, city and harbor views. Le Havre was one of his favorite locations. He also made some etchings and lithographs. He was revered in France but, remarkably, was mostly neglected in the Netherlands.
The Romare Howard Bearden lithograph – a Modernist depiction of an African American jazz band – was edition #129 of 200 on Arches paper measuring 22 inches by 29¾ inches. The frame was 26½ inches by 34 inches. The work was artist signed “Romare Bearden” lower right and numbered (“129/200”) lower left. Works by the artist are highly sought by art collectors.
Romare Bearden was an artist, author and songwriter. He worked with many types of media, including cartoons, oils and collages. The New York Times described Bearden as “the nation’s foremost collagist” in his 1988 obituary. Bearden became a founding member of the Harlem-based art group known as The Spiral, formed to discuss the responsibility of the African American artist in the Civil Rights movement. He also co-wrote the jazz classic, Sea Breeze.
“It was nice being able to have the live crowd back in the gallery,” Bruneau & Co. president Kevin Bruneau said of the auction, the first in a few months that permitted actual live bidding. Recent sales were online-only, because of COVID-19. “Everyone stayed safe and socially distant wearing PPE,” he said. “Bidding was strong in the room and online. It was a good day overall.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices include the buyer’s premium.
A Modern nocturnal forest painting by Robinson Murray (Mass., 1890-1984), titled Trees Under Full Moon, depicting an elegantly simple stylized forest with golden aura illuminated by a full moon over a quick stroke variegated green background, gaveled for $1,750. The canvas, 33¾ inches by 42 inches, was artist titled and dated (“76”) on verso and it retained its original Worcester Art Museum label.
Murray earned a degree in Studio Art from Harvard University in 1912 and quickly pursued a career in commercial art. Upon his retirement in 1960 he turned his focus to modern abstract art. From 1960 to 1980, Murray exhibited at the John F. Kennedy Building in Boston and the Copley Society within Boston City Hall.
An Abraham Lincoln political campaign ferrotype from around 1860 and depicting a clean-shaven Lincoln in a circular format, surrounded by a chased brass frame on tin mount and pin, in overall good condition, went for $1,625. The pin was just shy of one 1 by 2 inches.
A 14K gold braided rope heart bracelet, made in America circa 1960 and weighing 45.4 grams, made $1,625. The 7½-inch-long multitwist linked bracelet with heart detailing had a patent number matching a 1960 patent filed by inventor Simon Geldwerth.
For details contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-533-9980.
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