John Millard Ferren paintings soar at Kaminski Auctions’ Feb. 3 sale


John Millard Ferren abstract work No. 29, sold for $58,000 against an estimate of $20,000-$30,000. Kaminski Auctions image

BEVERLY, Mass. – Two John Millard Ferren abstract plaster reliefs stole the show at the Kaminski Auctions sale on  February 3rd, 2019.  The Internet lit up with bidders, as well as several phone lines. Competition for the two pieces that were signed and dated 1937 was intense. The Ferren abstract work No. 29 was bid to a stunning $58,000 against an estimate of $20,000-$30,000. The second John Millard Ferren plaster relief numbered No.33, was bid to $44,000 against an estimate of $40,000-$60,000, with 26 bids recorded.

The two abstract reliefs that were most likely a product of John Millard Ferren’s (1905-1970) time in Paris where he studied informally at the Sorbonne and several art academies. He had briefly worked for a company that produced plaster sculpture in his early years in San Francisco. Working in the 1920s and 1930s his contemporaries included such names as Hans Hoffman, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, and others. In 1938 upon his return to New York City, he became part of a collection of artists labeled the New York School of abstract expressionism.


John Millard Ferren (American, 1905-1970), plaster relief No. 33, signed and dated 1937, 18 x 22 in. Sold for $44,000. Kaminski Auctions image

In addition to the two Ferren paintings, a winter snow scene by the Philadelphia born artist Antonio P. Martino (1902-1988) sold for $18,000. The oil-on-canvas, titled “Early Snow,” was signed and dated 1929. Additionally, a vibrant waterfront scene by the Cape Ann artist, Emile A. Gruppe, of fishing boats, nets, and fishermen setting out for the daily catch, titled “Town Landing at Gloucester Harbor,” signed and dated sold for $15,600.

A collection of sculptures by Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese-American, Boston-born artist, and sculptor brought over $18,000 plus buyer’s premium, with two individual pieces selling for over $7,500 each.

The auction continued with strong prices for jewelry, silver, and select furniture. Kaminski Auctions schedule continues with the March Estate auction on Saturday, and Sunday, March 2nd, and 3rd, with absentee and live online bidding through LiveAuctioneers.