CHICAGO – A pair of Fern Coppedge winter scenes will anchor a strong group of American landscapes in Hindman’s Friday, May 19 American Art auction. The sale will provide a look at how a range of celebrated artists approached the genre. Spanning Impressionist to more abstract styles, paintings by Milton Avery, Maurice Prendergast and Wolf Kahn are also highlights. In addition to works by Fern Coppedge, paintings and sculptures by other accomplished historic and contemporary American women artists such as Gertrude Abercrombie, Miyoko Ito and Harriet Whitney Frishmuth will also be offered. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
“Coppedge’s works are striking examples of her skill in depicting landscapes,” said Hindman Senior Researcher of Fine Art Julianna Tancredi. “From the light, to the color, to the brushstrokes, viewers feel as though they have been transported to Bucks County.”
Headlining the historic selection of landscapes will be works by Fern Isabel Coppedge. She studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago and then in New York with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League. In 1917, Coppedge and her husband, Robert Coppedge, relocated to Philadelphia, where she collaborated with John Fabian Carlson and Henry Snell. She also attended classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, studying with Daniel Garber, who would become an important mentor. Garber encouraged Coppedge to move to Bucks County due to the artistic opportunities that the landscapes there would offer.
During a time when the field was mostly male-dominated, Coppedge made a distinct mark with her winter Impressionist landscapes, many of which had an element of experimentation. Coppedge’s The Lock Keepers Lodge, estimated at $30,000-$50,000, and Winter Scene, estimated at $20,000-$30,000, are both excellent examples of the artist’s compelling Bucks County winter scenes, and her ability to expertly capture the distinct winter light of the region.
Gertrude Abercrombie’s Giraffe and Moon, estimated at $50,000-$70,000, is another highly anticipated lot. This deceptively simple painting shows Abercrombie’s ability to transform recognizable things of this world, such as this giraffe, into evocative, meaningful and mysterious art. The artist’s interest in giraffes, an animal less frequently depicted by the artist, coincided with the widely publicized arrival of two African giraffes in New York en route to the San Diego Zoo in 1938. The event received significant attention as giraffes were a rarity in the United States at the time.
A celebrated modern American painter, Milton Avery cultivated relationships with a robust network of painters, including Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman, leading him to develop a more abstract style of painting. Mountain Lake, estimated at $100,000-$150,000, is a beautiful illustration of Avery’s abstract yet luminous landscapes, depicted through broad swaths of blues and greens. Avery was inspired by the extensive road trip he took with his family through the Canadian and American Rockies in 1947, filling his sketchbook with drawings along the way.
Additional top lots of the sale include Maurice Prendergast’s 1902 portrait of his friend and patron, Mrs. Oliver W. Williams, estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Painted shortly after the birth of her second son, Thomas, the artwork was a prized possession of the sitter and remained with Mrs. Williams until her death in 1964.
Wolf Kahn’s bold 1971 painting, Line of Dark Tress & Weather Front, estimated at $15,000-$25,000, is another highlight. Having seen a significant uptick in demand for the artist’s work, Hindman looks forward to seeing how this archetypical Kahn canvas will be received.
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