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After a stellar performance at the July 2011 Sporting Sale, Copley has assembled several significant collections containing notable decoys and decorative bird carvings. Among the most important birds offered is a Charles Birch (1867-1956) swan ($90,000-$120,000). This swan, with its graceful down-turned head, long slender neck and sleek body, ranks as one of the finest Birch examples known to exist.
Another notable lot, consigned by a direct descendant of John Blair, includes a swimming bluebill drake ($20,000-$40,000) by John Blair Jr. (1881-1953) and John Blair Sr.’s (1843-1929) Belgian side-by-side muzzle-loading eight-gauge shotgun.
Copley will offer several top tier decoys from the Mid-Atlantic. Among the highlights are a Bishops Head swimming Canada goose by the Ward brothers (Lemuel T., 1896-1983 and Stephen, 1895-1976) and an Obediah Verity (1850-1910) black bellied-plover ($25,000-$40,000). Decoys from New Jersey are well represented, and include a rare “hook bill” curlew by William Roberts ($20,000-$30,000), as well as a bufflehead ($30,000-$50,000) and brant ($5,000-$7,000) by Harry V. Shourds (1861-1920).
Copley will auction off numerous carvings by the East Harwich maker A.E. Crowell (1862-1952). In addition to the full-size preening greater yellowlegs ($40,000-$60,000), flying green-winged teal drake ($50,000-$70,000), standing preening black duck ($30,000-$60,000), and preening Hudsonian curlew ($60,000-$90,000), Copley has assembled a variety of miniature decorative bird carvings. Headlined by a complete set of 25 miniature waterfowl ($100,000-$150,000) the sale will include over 70 miniatures in total, with an array of species represented.
The Winter Sale 2012 will also showcase numerous birds from the Mason Decoy Factory (1896-1924), including some of the finest shorebird examples known, such as a salesman’s sample golden plover ($12,000-$16,000), two rare robin snipe, one in spring plumage ($8,000-$12,000) and one in winter ($6,000-$9,000), and a dowitcher ($8,000-$12,000); as well as a pair of premier grade mallards ($50,000-$70,000) from the coveted G.K. Schmidt rig, along with several other lots of Mason waterfowl.
Among a number of important late additions to the sale are a high-head pintail hen ($50,000-$70,000) from the Kankakee marsh and a three-piece Dexter/Gardener (Dr. Clarence T. Gardner, 1844-1907, and Newton Dexter, d. 1901) Willet ($40,000-$60,000).
In part two of the sale a stately oil painting of moose by world-renowned wildlife artist Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (1869-1959) titled In the Cedar Swamp ($150,000-$250,000) aims to follow the success Copley saw with other works by the artist in their 2010 Sporting Sale when they sold five oils out of the H. Wendell Endicott Rungius collection for a total of $1.34 million.
A large Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927) painting of wild turkey ($20,000-$40,000) is not only one of the premier depictions of this North American game bird ever to come to market, but is also perhaps the most important work by the artist to be offered at auction.
Waiting for its Master ($100,000$-$200,000), a canine painting by Alexander Pope Jr. (1849-1924), represents some of the artist’s finest work and is another of Copley’s highlights. This painting displays Pope’s talent for depicting rich texture and minute detail. An expertly rendered trompe l’oeil still life of hanging game ($20,000-$30,000) by Pope’s contemporary, R. LaBarre Goodwin (1840-1910), is also expected to have a strong showing.
Bob Kuhn’s (1920-2007) A Two Brooks Idyll ($20,000-$40,000) features famous fly reel maker Stanley Bogdan fishing on the Restigouche River. Although Kuhn was an avid fly fisherman, he rarely depicted his hobby in his paintings.
Copley will auction off several important watercolors, including a superb driven grouse scene ($30,000-$50,000) by Ogden M. Pleissner (1905-1983). Other significant items in the painting sale include notable, original works by George Browne (1918-1958), Frank W. Benson (1862-1951), Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969), Harry Curieux Adamson (b. 1916) and contemporary artists John Swan (b. 1948), Chet Reneson (b. 1934), Luke Frazier (b. 1970), and Brett J. Smith (b. 1958).
Also featured in the sale is a rare complete set of 12 prints from A.B. Frost’s (1851-1928) Shooting Pictures ($7,000-$10,000), along with the original folio and information sheets from 1895; four top-notch bronze sculptures by William Koelpin (1938-1996); a gentleman’s sporting library with over three hundred titles; and several diverse lots of American folk art, including nine noteworthy Navajo weavings in various textures, colors, and patterns ($8,000-$12,000); a historic John Bellamy (1836-1914) eagle ($20,000-$30,000); and Nantucket lightship baskets.
Copley will once again kick off the week with their Scotch and Smoked Salmon Preview Party, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Jan. 14. The one-day sale will commence at 11 a.m. the following Monday, Jan. 16. For details, a full schedule of events, or to order a catalog, contact Aimee Stashak-Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 617-536-0030, or visit www.copleyart.com.
Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC is located at 268 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02116.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE