Eldred’s big Nov. 15-17 sale showcases the Skinner Collection

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EAST DENNIS, Mass. — Eldred’s traditional fall sales are always important events packed with quality merchandise, but this year’s has even more appeal: the addition of the Bob and Nancy Skinner collection. Founders of the legendary Skinner auction house of Boston — now known as Bonhams Skinner — their Americana collection appears at auction for the first time. Catalogs are now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3).

The reasoning behind the Skinner family’s selection of Eldred’s is simply personal: the families, part of the group dubbed the “Big Four” of New England postwar auction houses, have been friends for generations. As noted by CEO Joshua Eldred, himself a third-generation owner, “We are incredibly proud to be handling this collection on behalf of the Skinner family. Because of our personal and professional relationship, selling these items is such an honor, but beyond that, it’s a truly fantastic group of Americana, as you would expect Bob and Nancy to have.”

A classic example of the New England seascapes favored by artist Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) tops the first session. Scituate Beach, Moonlight is from the 1870-1875 period and is signed by the artist, who was not well known in his time but has since become highly regarded by art historians. The 10 by 12in oil on artist board depicting a Massachusetts coastal town carries an estimate of $100,000-$150,000, reflecting strong market interest in Heade’s works.

Also dominating the first sale is a child’s wardrobe built to resemble Kew Palace in west London. Signed Edmund Joy 1709, it is the only other known example from this otherwise obscure builder and artist, the second being a very similar wardrobe in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London that is signed and dated Edmund Joy 1712. The wardrobe is estimated at $70,000-$100,000.

The Day Two session is strong with 19th- and early 20th-century art, lead by Three Partridges on a Pitch Pine. Created by outdoorsman, conservationist and painter Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969), the work reflects the artist’s focus on realism and his technique of painting and drawing en plein-air to capture the authenticity of his subjects in their natural environments. Three Partridges is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Known for excellent sales often sourced from prominent New England collections, Bob and Nancy Skinner collected what they loved. The 154 lots presented on the third day by Eldred’s reflect their passion for early American miniatures, created by forgotten craftsmen to capture the American experience on a small scale, often for children. The sale includes 34 lots of miniatures, led by a miniature firkin attributed to prominent toymaker and cooper Cotton Hersey (1792-1891). The firkin, or fluid receptacle, is described as a Hingham, owing to the Massachusetts town’s reputation as “Bucket Town,” with more than 400 coopers residing there.
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Martin Johnson Heade, ‘Scituate Beach, Moonlight,’ estimated at $100,000-$150,000 at Eldred’s.
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English Child’s wardrobe dating to 1709, estimated at $70,000-$100,000 at Eldred’s.
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Aiden Lassell Ripley, ‘Three Partridges on a Pitch Pine,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000 at Eldred’s.
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Gold ring belonging to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, late 18th-early 19th century, estimated at 10,000-$15,000 at Eldred’s.
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Stoneware double-handed molasses jug, estimated at $3,000-$5,000 at Eldred’s.
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Hingham miniature firkin, estimated at $2,500-$3,500 at Eldred’s.
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Clars present fine jewelry on Feb. 17, fine art on Feb. 20

Ceylon sapphire, diamond and 18K white gold ring, est. $4,000-$6,000
Ceylon sapphire, diamond and 18K white gold ring, est. $4,000-$6,000
Ceylon sapphire, diamond and 18K white gold ring, est. $4,000-$6,000

OAKLAND, Calif. – Clars Auction Gallery is readying two February sales to take place three days apart. A Ceylon sapphire ring leads its Important Fine Jewelry auction, scheduled for Thursday, February 17, and a Herbert James Draper seascape headlines its Furniture, Fine Art and Asian Art sale, set for Sunday, February 20. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Cassatt, Homer art among pieces donated to Boston College

Winslow Homer, 1836–1910, ‘Grace Hoops,’ 1872 oil on canvas, 22in by 15in. Image courtesy of the McMullen Museum of Art
Winslow Homer, 1836–1910, ‘Grace Hoops,’ 1872 oil on canvas, 22in by 15in. Image courtesy of the McMullen Museum of Art
Winslow Homer, 1836–1910, ‘Grace Hoops,’ 1872 oil on canvas, 22in by 15in. Image courtesy of the McMullen Museum of Art

BOSTON (AP) – Works by Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt and Winslow Homer are among 30 pieces of art worth more than $20 million that alumnus and legendary investment manager Peter Lynch is donating to Boston College’s art museum, the university announced December 7. The works – 27 paintings and three drawings – were collected by Lynch and his late wife Carolyn.

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