Paintings by female artists headline Gray’s auction Jan. 16

female artists

Oil on canvas painting after Margaretha Haverman (Danish, c. 1693-1739), titled ‘Still Life with Flowers,’ unsigned, after the original in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (est. $5,000-$7,000). Gray’s Auctioneers image

CLEVELAND – Gray’s Auctioneers will kick off the New Year with another extensive sale of fine art, decorative arts and furniture on Wednesday, January 16. “We’ll be highlighting some terrific female artists who never received their just due while alive,” said Serena Harragin of Gray’s. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Lot 33 is a painting (above) after Margaretha Haverman (c.1693-1739), the 18th century Danish still life artist about whom little is known. What scant details of her biography can be found tell the tragic story of a promising young artist whose career was cut short by the hostile sexism of her time. She was raised by a former Danish military captain turned schoolmaster and as a teenager studied under Jan van Huysum.

Van Huysum was a secretive Dutch still life specialist known as “the phoenix of all flower painters.”  He refused to take pupils for fear of his technique being replicated, but Haverman’s father convinced Van Huysum to take her on as his sole student. Van Huysum relented under the impression that, as a woman, Margaretha would have no chance at a real career in the arts and thus provide no competition.

But Margaretha proved to be an excellent student and talented painter, and soon began selling her own work. She then became just the second woman ever to be accepted into the prestigious Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris. Shocked and embarrassed, Van Huysum may have pulled some strings to have the young prodigy thrown out of the Académie, as not even one year after her enrollment, she was expelled on the grounds that her acceptance work had in fact been painted by him.

There was, of course, no evidence provided for this assertion, but it dissuaded Haverman from pursuing a career in the arts. Only two of her works have survived. One is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other in the National Gallery of Denmark. “While we have taken many steps in the right direction in the last 300 years, this story of a talented young woman locked out of pursuing her passion by a vindictive older man still has unfortunate echoes today,” said Harragin.

Lots 73 and 74 are two drawings by the Prussian Expressionist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). One of the foremost female artists of her era, Kollwitz was only considered an Expressionist due to the stylistic flourishes she adopted from the younger artists she admired later in life. She could also be described as a Social Realist due to her heartfelt and often gritty depictions of the struggles of working-class life.

female artists

Pencil on paper by Käthe Kollwitz (Prussian, 1867-1945), titled ‘Begrussung (Greeting),’ circa 1892, signed lower right and numbered (8/19) lower left (est. $5,000-$7,000). Gray’s Auctioneers image

Finding her true talent as a draughtswoman and etcher, Kollwitz’s beautiful prints and woodcuts are inseparable from her radical socialist politics. Her best-known works are The Weavers and The Peasant’s War – both depict scenes from two landmark revolts of the German working class. In 1920 Kollwitz was elected a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, the first woman to receive this honor.

Kollwitz’s international reputation helped protect her from the Nazi party, though she and her husband were threatened by the Gestapo and her work was banned from exhibition in her home country. She died just 16 days before the end of the war, a guest of the Prince of Saxony after her Berlin home was bombed in 1943. Lot 73 is Bergrussung (Greeting); Lot 74 is Mother Leaning over a Crib.

Cleveland native Ivy Goldhamer Stone (1917-2006), though relatively unknown, was another woman of indisputable talent. Gray’s has 15 of Stone’s artworks up for auction this month, some of which originate from a set of commissions for Sherwin Williams in 1989, when they asked her to paint a panoramic series of views of downtown Cleveland from the windows of their corporate headquarters.

female artists

Oil on canvas painting by Ivy Goldhamer Stone (American, 1917-2006), titled ‘William Mather on the Cuyahoga River’ (1989), signed lower right, 29 inches by 35 inches framed (est. $1,000-$2,000). Gray’s Auctioneers image

One of her paintings, Lot 1, titled William Mather on the Cuyahoga River, depicts the famous bulk freighter sailing along Cleveland’s waterfront. This month’s auction also includes artworks Stone painted in Pittsburgh and Nova Scotia. All serve as an illustration of the smooth, rich, and vibrant technique in both oil and watercolor that Stone brought to her renderings of these urban waterfronts.

Lot 114 is a woodcut print titled The Mountain Climber by American printmaker, painter and author Rockwell Kent (1882-1971). In a career that lasted nearly 70 years, Kent distinguished himself as a figure in the long tradition of American Naturalism. He continued the legacy of Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman with his grand, mystical landscape paintings (and renderings of Alaskan vistas in particular).

female artists

Woodcut by Rockwood Kent (American, 1882-1971), titled ‘The Mountain Climber,’ signed lower right and measuring 7¾ inches by 5¾ inches (est. $1,500-$2,500). Gray’s Auctioneers image

Through his work as a skilled landscape painter and organizer of shows for fellow independent artists, Kent became a major part of the vanguard of American modernism. He studied under some of the most significant theorists of his day, such as Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase. He is best known for his work as an artist, but was a prolific writer and activist as well, publishing a number of travel diaries.

female artists

Georgian mahogany desk by Gillows (England), stamped Gillows with brass lock plates stamped I. Braham, 18th century with 20th century modifications, 35 inches by 49 inches (est. $6,000-$8,000). Gray’s Auctioneers image

Along with striking artworks, the auction also features a rich collection of jewelry, decorative art and furniture lots, including Lot 277, an 18th century Georgian mahogany desk by Gillows of Lancaster and London, the British furniture manufacturer established around 1730. For nearly two centuries, Gillows’ exquisite craftsmanship was greatly respected throughout England and all of the greater British Empire.

The auction will begin Jan. 16 at 11 a.m. Eastern time. For details contact Gray’s Auctioneers at 216-226-3300 or