CRANSTON, R.I. – Paintings by Julie Hart Beers, Anthony Thieme and Edgar S. Paxson were among the top lots in an Estate Fine Art & Antiques auction held January 6 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. Works by all three sold for five-figure sums.
The Beers (American, 1835-1913) painting, titled Summer at Mossy Brook, was a naturalistic depiction of towering birch trees beside a glistening lake. It sold for a robust $20,000. Her work conveys the intimacy of the Hudson River and New England’s vast landscapes. She was one of only a few prolific female painters of her era, and was the sister of two other Hudson River School artists: James McDougal Hart and William Hart. She learned to paint from them, as well as from her husband, who was also an artist.
A watercolor on paper by Anthony Thieme (American, 1888-1954), which depicted groups of men in boats floating through calm waters and surrounded by tropical trees, easily bested its $500-$800 estimate to finish at $12,500. Thieme studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts under George Hacker and refined his skills in Italy and Germany. He was a major figure in the Rockport (Massachusetts) school of American regional art and was an accomplished en plein air artist.
A portrait by Edgar S. Paxson (American, 1852-1919) of a Native American man with a strong side profile, long thick black hair and a single feather adornment, changed hands for $12,500. Born in New York, Paxson received his early art education from his father, a sign painter and carriage decorator. He moved to Montana in 1881, where his studios became popular attractions for artists visiting the West. Paxson was most interested in painting the portraits of those who fought at Little Big Horn. This led him to befriend and ultimately paint Gall, the Chief of the Sioux.
An oil on canvas by Sudanese artist Hussein Shariffe (1934-2005) found a new owner for $11,250. The work depicted an abstract figure with an elongated, spindly neck and legs, beside a bird in deep muted colors, with the setting sun as a backdrop. Shariffe attended the University of Cambridge, then later the Slade School of Fine Arts in London, where he studied under Lucien Freud (1922-2011). In 1960, Shariffe began to teach at the School of Fine Arts in Khartoum, which marked a period of experimentation in his craft. Shariffe’s work has been exhibited at Gallery One in London, the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil and the Sharjar Art Foundation, as well as in Jordan, Egypt and Germany.
An early 20th-century black Auburn pedal car, made by Murray Mfg. Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, was the sleeper hit of the auction, roaring past its $300-$500 pre-sale estimate to achieve $5,938. The car came out of the collection of a Plainfield, Connecticut estate, measured 52in long, and had scratches and paint loss from age and use.
The second most expensive lot in the sale was an exquisitely carved 19th-century European mahogany stained glass bronze bar. The bar was removed from Miramar Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island and fell just short of its $20,000-$40,000 estimate, selling for $19,200. It had some minor casting flaws to the bronze figural columns and some light surface wear, but was otherwise in good condition.
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