FAIRFIELD, Maine – James D. Julia Auctioneers will launch its 2009 season on Feb. 6-7 with 1,200 quality lots, including more than 600 works of art. Other key categories include early and Victorian furniture items, folk art, nautical antiques and all sorts of regional Americana.
The sale’s star lot, which comes from a private collection, is an outstanding original bronze statue by the famed sculptor Auguste Rodin titled L’Eternal Printemps, depicting two nude lovers in a passionate embrace atop a naturalistic base. This epic sculpture hasn’t seen the public marketplace since 1985, when it was purchased by the present consignor through Christie’s New York. It is now offered with a pre-auction estimate of $200,000-$400,000.
Other fine bronzes include a rare bronze and ivory figure depicting a lady in draping skirts, reading a book. Well rendered and exquisitely detailed, this signed Carrier-Belleuse piece from a Philadelphia estate is expected to sell for $8,000-$12,000.
The splendid offering of paintings covers a wide array of subjects by many of the collecting world’s more sought-after American and European artists. A New England favorite and Julia staple, Emile Gruppe’s marine-theme works are considered the finest of the Rockport Gloucester School. This sale presents a rare opportunity to own one of Gruppe’s less frequently visited subjects in Water Lilies. Believed to be one of only three known lily pond works by Gruppe, this work exemplifies his finest efforts. It comes to the block with a $30,000-$40,000 estimate.
Other highlights from the great selection of Gruppe works include more characteristic examples such as Fishing Schooners Sadie Noonan & Wentworth in Smith’s Cove, a large oil on canvas Gloucester Harbor scene that comes with an estimate of $25,000-$35,000.
Works from other Rockport-Gloucester School artists include contemporary examplesm and this auction will present eight by Wayne Morrell, including Sunlit Lily Pond, estimate: $4,000-$6,000 estimate. Thomas Nicholas’ Clearing Storm, Essex provides the viewer a look across a snow-covered shoreline towards the Massachusetts village while clearing blue sky advances from the left. This delightful work carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
Several works by Earl Cunningham will be offered, including a marvelous folk art rendition of a large red-roofed covered bridge spanning two green land masses as canoes and schooners fill the foreground. Fresh from a New England home it is expected to sell for $15,000-25,000.
A beautiful Maurice Prendergast mixed-media work is worthy of attention. Housed in a magnificent gesso-decorated gilt frame with title and artist plaque, it comes with a pre-auction estimate of $30,000-$50,000.
Western art will be well served by Don Kingman’s 17 Mile Drive, California, 1954, an outstanding watercolor of a marshy area with trees, birds and grasses against a dusky sky. Illustrated in a book on the artist’s works and coming from a private Maine collection, it carries an estimate of $10,000-$20,000.
From the Geraldine Gaba Estate of Scottsdale, Ariz., comes 19th-century artist Thomas Hill’s Presidio, Early California, a marvelous coastal view of the San Francisco Bay area in its early stages. It comes with an estimate of $30,000-$50,000. Also included is William Keith’s Western landscape showing a lake nestled among the foothills with rocky ledges in the foreground. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.
In the American illustration category the original poster art for a circa WWI “Feed the Children” campaign by Jessie Wilcox Smith is a wonderful example of her work. Depicting a young girl and boy slicing large loaves of bread for a long procession of starving urchins, it is expected to bring $20,000-30,000.
A large selection of Russian artwork includes Ilui Boncha-Tomashevsky’s interior scene representing a scene from Moliere’s Tartuffe showing a gentleman in a black outfit conversing with a seated woman in a well-appointed room. This masterful work comes with an estimate of $40,000-$60,000.
The second session is a fabulous assemblage from various estates of early American and Victorian furniture, Oriental rugs, silver, nautical items, weathervanes and other folk art. An important 18th-century Philadelphia Chippendale carved-walnut armchair with scrolling crest rail centering an asymmetrical carved shell cartouche comes with an estimate of $18,000-$22,000. A first-rate Philadelphia Sheraton mahogany tall-case clock by Crowley & Farr with molded swan’s neck pediment, rope-twist colonettes, and a painted moon-phase dial comes with a $6,000-$10,000 estimate.
Folk art for the landlocked includes numerous weathervanes, such as a rare leaping stag attributed to Harris & Company of Boston. This molded-copper example with zinc ears and antlers is depicted leaping over a fallen tree and shrub. Fresh to the market from a Massachusetts estate and having descended through the family, it is expected to bring $15,000-$25,000.
The auction will also feature numerous fine English and American silver pieces including a Paul Storr covered soup tureen with its original liner, estimate $30,000-$50,000. From the same collection comes a pair of Paul Storr silver covered entrée dishes in rectangular form with scallop shell and leaf decoration. Elegantly engraved with stags and family crests, the pair is expected to make $25,000-$35,000.
Visit Julia’s Web site at www.juliaauctions.com. Tel. 207-453-7125.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE