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Francis Speight, 'Manayunk Bridge,' which sold for $50,000 ($65,500 with buyer’s premium) at Freeman's.

Francis Speight artworks continued to outperform at Freeman’s

PHILADELPHIA — Contemporary realist Francis Speight (1896-1989) loved to paint what lay before him, whether it was a rolling valley in his adopted home of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, or urban and suburban architecture. He would set up his canvas on site and begin his work, leading to a huge output across his 97 years of life. Freeman’s featured four of his paintings during two separate sales, December 3’s American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists and December 5’s Collect: American Art, once again demonstrating rising demand for Speight’s work. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

Speight was 77 when he created Winter Landscape in 1973, a moody illustration that captures the icy beauty of the season. It hammered for $60,000 ($78,600 with buyer’s premium), setting the top price for his works in the sale. Also performing nicely was the undated Manayunk Bridge, the former Pennsylvania Railroad viaduct connecting Bala Cynwyd and Manayunk in Philadelphia over the Schyulkill River. His astonishing level of detail and the gentle S-curve of the bridge make the image mesmerizing. It sold for $50,000 ($65,500 with buyer’s premium) against a presale estimate of $12,000-$18,000.

Aldro Thompson Hibbard (1886-1972) is best remembered for his plein air landscapes of winter scenes, for which he won numerous prestigious awards in the 1920s. Winter, Back Beach, Rockport is an undated oil on canvas housed in an Arts and Crafts period frame, making it a likely 1920s work. Estimated at just $4,000-$6,000, bidders sent the painting skyward to $26,000 ($34,060 with buyer’s premium), demonstrating continued market demand for Hibbard’s snowy scenes.

Considered one of America’s best sporting dog artists, Edmund Henry Osthaus (1858-1928) was born in Germany and began sketching farm animals as a child. He followed his parents to the United States in the 1880s where he furthered his other passion, hunting. Pointer with Quail is from 1890 and features a majestic German short hair pointer fetching a felled quail, probably a scene taken from Osthaus’ own life. The work sold for $100,000 ($131,000 with buyer’s premium), matching Freeman’s top estimate for the piece.