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Charles Safford

Duck, duck, goose: Copley to hold 2022 Winter Sale, March 4-5

Charles Safford, Sleeping Canada Goose, est. $100,000-$200,000
Charles Safford, Sleeping Canada Goose, est. $100,000-$200,000

HINGHAM, Mass. – On Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, Copley Fine Art Auctions, the nation’s premier sporting art and decoy auction house, will host its Winter Sale 2022. The two-day, virtual-format sale will offer the opportunity to acquire world-class paintings and bird carvings. The auction will begin at 10am on both days. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The Winter Sale paintings are led by Golden Hours, a watercolor depiction of fishing by noted sporting artist Ogden M. Pleissner (1905–1983) This important work is considered to be one of the artist’s most successful fishing scenes and is one of four pieces in the sale created by Pleissner for the Hercules Powder Company. It is estimated at $60,000-$90,000.

Odgen M. Pleissner, ‘Golden Hours,’ est. $60,000-$90,000
Odgen M. Pleissner, ‘Golden Hours,’ est. $60,000-$90,000

Also featured is the artist’s Grassing the Boat, a watercolor of hunting at the famed Long Point Club, which carries an estimate of $40,000-$60,000. It hails from the Henry Sturgis Morgan collection and has been held by the family since it was commissioned. A titan in the worlds of finance and philanthropy, Henry Sturgis Morgan (1900–1982) was a founding partner of Morgan Stanley and sat on the boards of Harvard University, the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. He was the son of banker and philanthropist John Pierpont Morgan Jr. and the grandson of J. Pierpont Morgan, one of America’s most successful financiers during the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era.

Aiden Lassell Ripley, ‘The Rock in the River,’ est. $40,000-$60,000
Aiden Lassell Ripley, ‘The Rock in the River,’ est. $40,000-$60,000

A stunning watercolor of a fishing scene set to cross the block at the upcoming Winter Sale is The Rock in the River by Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896–1969), estimated at $40,000-$60,000. It is offered alongside his gunning watercolor entitled In the Marsh (estimated at $20,000-$30,000) from the Henry Sturgis Morgan collection and Grouse on a Winter Morning (estimated at $25,000-$35,000), which depicts the artist’s favorite bird. The book on the artist, The Art of Aiden Lassell Ripley, can be purchased through Copley at https://www.copleyart.com/books/p/the-art-of-aiden-lassell-ripley

Charles ‘Shang’ Wheeler, Rockefeller Wood Duck Pair, est. $100,000-$200,000
Charles ‘Shang’ Wheeler, Rockefeller Wood Duck Pair, est. $100,000-$200,000

Regarding the decoy and decorative carvings on offer, this year’s Winter Sale will feature the Charles Safford (1877–1957) Sleeping Canada Goose from the maker’s personal rig, estimated at $100,000-$200,000. This important decoy is related to the Safford Swimming Goose, which Copley sold in 2019. Another top New England lot is the Rockefeller Wood Duck Pair by Charles “Shang” Wheeler (1872–1949), estimated at $100,000-$200,000. This duo is not only one of Wheeler’s finest decoy pairs, but also one of the best wood duck pairs by any maker. The provenance of this pair, from Wheeler’s own rig to the Thomas C. Marshall collection to the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection through Donal C. O’Brien Jr., is impeccable by every measure. Two other decoys that embody iconic form and strong provenance are the Mackey-O’Brien Dudley Canvasback Drake by Lee Dudley (1860–1942), estimated at $50,000-$80,000, and a Virginia Swimming Brant estimated at $45,000-$65,000 that hails from the Milton C. Weiler collection.

Trinosky Family Kankakee Pintail Hen, est. $75,000-$95,000
Trinosky Family Kankakee Pintail Hen, est. $75,000-$95,000

Important Midwest carvings featured in the sale include the Trinosky Family Kankakee Pintail Hen, estimated at $75,000-$95,000. A related drake sold for $186,000, setting a world record for the rig at its auction debut in Copley’s recent Sporting Sale 2021. The sale will also include the finest example existent of a Dodge wood duck from the J. N. Dodge factory. Its estimate is $50,000-$70,000.

Horton Hollow Nantucket Golden Plover, est. $20,000-$30,000
Horton Hollow Nantucket Golden Plover, est. $20,000-$30,000

Fine carvings from the celebrated island of Nantucket set to cross the block include the Horton Hollow Nantucket Golden Plover, carved circa 1850 and estimated at $65,000-$85,000; a hollow Nantucket merganser pair, estimated at $20,000-$30,000; and the 1842 Larrabee Curlew by previously unknown carver William Fiske Larrabee (1808–1853), estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

A.Elmer Crowell, Swimming Merganser Pair, est. $50,000-$80,000
A. Elmer Crowell, Swimming Merganser Pair, est. $50,000-$80,000

The early Raised-Wing Canvasback Pair by A. Elmer Crowell (1862–1952), who has been dubbed the “Father of American Bird Carving” is sure to excite buyers. The pair is estimated at $50,000-$80,000, and is offered along with Crowell creations that include a circa-1915 swimming merganser pair, estimated at $50,000-$80,000; a kingfisher with a yellow perch, estimated at $25,000-$35,000; a complete set of waterfowl miniatures estimated at $30,000-$50,000; as well as the Payson Greater Yellowlegs and the Payson Preening Dowitcher, each estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Additional information can be found in the definitive book on the maker, Elmer Crowell: Father of American Bird Carving, which is available at Copley at https://www.copleyart.com/books/p/elmer-crowell-father-of-american-bird-carving

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Charles Safford