NEW MARKET, Tenn. – Paintings with provenance from a legendary collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterworks amassed by the former president and later chairman of the board of Eastman Kodak will be auctioned online by John Coker Ltd. on Nov. 17. All lots in the auction will be offered without reserve, and absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The Dr. Albert K. Chapman (1890-1984) collection was held privately over three subsequent generations of the Chapman family, starting in the 1930s. It included artworks by Childe Hassam, Alfred Sisley, Pierre Bonnard and 30 other distinguished artists from the period 1870 to 1950. The paintings were never publicly exhibited while in the hands of either Dr. Chapman or his heirs. The 250 artworks consigned to Coker’s Nov. 17 auction include eight paintings from the original Chapman holdings.
“Most of these artworks were acquired prior to the 1960s and are accompanied by bills of sale or other written provenance. They’re very collectible and should be greeted enthusiastically by the fine art community,” said auctioneer John Coker.
Gustave Loiseau’s (French, 1835-1935) oil-on-canvas titled A View from the Artist’s Studio (Paris) measures 25 by 21 inches and is artist-signed and dated “1925.” The artwork (above) displays views of the River Seine and L’Ile Saint-Louis. It was originally purchased in 1958 from the M.R. Schweitzer Gallery in New York City and retains its original gallery label.
An oil-on-canvas by Ker-Xavier Roussel (French, 1867-1944), Satyr Chasing a Woodland Nymphette (below), measures 12 by 9 7/8 inches and depicts a figure with extended arms chasing another figure through a heavily wooded setting. Like the Loiseau, this artwork was acquired (later, in 1963) from the M.R. Schweitzer Gallery. “Roussel was a well-connected and well-known member of the Nabi group of French Post-Impressionists. He was an accomplished painter,” Coker noted.
Camille Pissarro’s (1830-1903) drawing-on-paper titled The Artist’s Mother (or Lady in Bed Reading), 17 by 10 inches, was purchased from Sam Salz (d. 1981), a New York art dealer who was renowned on both sides of the Atlantic for more than half a century. “His clientele included members of the Rockefeller, Ford and Mellon families,” Coker said. The Pissarro is artist-signed at lower left, with pencil notations on verso showing Albert Chapman’s name and what is presumably an inventory number.
Bright Landscape with House, by E. Othon Friesz, is artist-signed and dated “1901,” the year it was purchased from the M.R. Schweitzer Gallery. The 29-by-24 inch oil-on-canvas retains its original gallery label on verso.
An extensive legacy selection of American and English furniture from the Chapman family will be auctioned, along with furniture from the family of the late Hilda Ayers of Knoxville, Tennessee. Chapman highlights include three fine tilt-top tables, a two-piece cherry banquet table of diminutive size that seats six, and a Sheraton sofa.
An estimated 250 lots of pottery from multiple consignors will be offered. They include 19th-century Pennsylvania productions as well as churns, whimsical face jugs and other vessels from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The Americana category also features woven rugs and antique baskets from two Tennessee consignors. Around 45 of them are vintage Cherokee baskets, some double-woven, that were purchased in the 1950s/’60s. Many came from the Qualla Native-American arts and crafts cooperative, founded in 1946 in Cherokee, N.C., and still have their original hang tags. “Collectors consider tags of this type to be very desirable. Each tag shows the name of the artisan who created the basket,” Coker said.
The firearms collection comes directly from the collection of Cleo Spriggs of Rogersville, Tennessee. Items of special note include a Lehman rifle, approximately 15 patch boxes and eight powder horns. The historical collection fits compatibly into the sale alongside 200 lots of Civil War documents. This intriguing selection of ephemera ranges from slave deeds, to manifests from doctors who treated Confederate soldiers, to documents showing payments from the federal government to Southern farmers seeking compensation for livestock appropriated by Union soldiers. There is also a separate 40- to 50-lot collection of documents from the United Confederate Veterans that pertain to the dedication of various statues and parks. These particular documents were acquired privately from the 1920s through 1940s, Coker said.
Auction lots may be inspected by appointment only or viewed in the online catalog starting November 8. The no-reserve auction will begin at 9 a.m. ET and will be divided into three consecutive sessions with 30-minute breaks in between. The opening session will feature art, followed by the pottery selection (commencing approx. 12:30 p.m.), and concluding with the firearms and Civil War memorabilia (commencing approx. 3 p.m.)
For additional information on any artwork or other auction item, call John Coker at 865-475-5163 or e-mail email@example.com.