From classics to outsiders: Vallot’s Winter Fine Art sale brings it all Jan. 18

Jean B. Guelpa, 'Still Life, Potatoes with Fly,' estimated at $1,000-$1,500 at Vallot.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Vallot AuctioneersWinter Fine Art sale, scheduled for Thursday, January 18, is a veritable feast of classic works, trompe l’oeil and outsider art from America and around the world. The complete catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Many of the sale’s standout lots come from the Gertrude Grace Sill (1920–2020) collection. She was an American art historian, curator, professor, and author of John Haberle, Master of Illusion, a retrospective on a largely forgotten American trompe l’oeil artist from the 19th century.

Naturally, her collection includes examples of trompe l’oeil, including four works from Jean B. Guelpa, a 19th-century Italian American artist who specialized in reverse-on-glass painting. Trompe l’oeil means ‘deceive the eye’ in French; the form of three-dimensional painting originated with Louis-Leopold Boilly, who debuted his master work in 1800 and in doing so, created an entirely new genre of painting.

Guelpa’s reverse-on-glass works focus on the classic still life motif, topped in the sale by Still Life, Potatoes with Fly. In this piece, the fly provides the visual trick to the viewer, seemingly resting upon a three-dimensional stack of potatoes on a plate. The work is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

The sale’s top lot falls into the classics category: Mt. Vernon from the Potomac, an 1869 oil on canvas by Thomas Hill (1809-1908), an English-born but New England-raised artist who was the eventual grandfather to Norman Rockwell. Hill was known for his handsome landscapes, and this example lives up to the acclaim. It carries an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Another New England favorite son is Anthony Thieme (1888-1954), whose works focused on local and maritime subjects. Thieme was a member of the Rockport School of American regional art and apparently suffered from bouts of depression, eventually taking his own life as a result. This unframed maritime oil on canvas is entitled Rockport and measures an impressive 30in high by 36in in width. It has a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

Active during the postwar period, Thomas (no surname known) was an outsider artist working in the naive style. Vallot has three of his paintings in the sale, and its notes mention Slotin Folk Art as a source for more information on the artist. Thomas certainly gave his buyers value for their money, as all three lots on offer are double-sided paintings with images that have no apparent thematic connection. Yankee Atom Energy and Surveying of the World Business Art are signed and dated 1960 and are together estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

Boston’s Combat Zone was the city’s original red light district, lasting from the 1960s until the rise of videocassettes in the 1980s. It derived its name from a combination of high crime, lurid businesses and the soldiers and sailors who would frequent the area while on leave. A strip-club hand-painted sign touting Live Nudes survived the Combat Zone’s demise and ended up in a collection of outsider art. It is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

C. Michael Dudash, Claude Conover and Corita Kent works are featured lots at Vallot Nov. 30

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Estate auctions are often packed with hidden treasures. A collector will buy an item and enjoy it for his or her lifetime, and then it reemerges at auction to start another collecting cycle. Numerous collections are reflected in Vallot’s Thursday, November 30 Fall Estate Auction, with 214 lots of art, ethnographic and prehistoric items vying for attention. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale’s top-estimated lot is an untitled landscape oil on canvas by Native American artist Earl Biss (1947-1998). The light-to-shadow study shows Indian blanket-wrapped riders on horseback as part of a journey. The 66 by 21.5in painting is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

C. Michael Dudash (b. 1952-) is known for his American West-themed works, but his talent really shines through in his use of perspective, in which he leverages the expanse of long vistas as a perfect backdrop for his foreground subject matter. Shadowland is a 20 by 30in oil on board with American Indian riders magnified by their shadows against a canyon wall. It carries an estimate of $8,000-$12,000.

The remarkable story of Claude Conover (1907-1994) demands telling. He attended art school with the sole intention of gaining a career as a commercial artist, dabbling in sculpture in his off-hours away from the advertising agency. In the early 1950s he pursued earthenware full-time, winning awards and acclaim until his retirement in 1990. Poco is a floor vessel in classic Conover style, measuring 22.75 by 12.5in and estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

A single-owner collection of Corita Kent screenprints (1918-1984) is also an important area of the sale. A former nun and social activist turned artist, Kent, who is also known as Sister Mary Corita Kent, made message-heavy works that spoke directly to the 1960s generation, from whom she gained most support. For Roses is a 1965 screenprint of hers estimated at $1,000-$2,000.
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Earl Biss untitled landscape, estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at Vallot Auctioneers.
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C. Michael Dudash, ‘Shadowland,’ estimated at $8,000-$12,000 at Vallot Auctioneers.
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Claude Conover, ‘Poco,’ estimated at $6,000-$8,000 at Vallot Auctioneers.
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Corita Kent, ‘For Roses,’ estimated at $1,000-$2,000 at Vallot Auctioneers.
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Undated Jacobs Hill Farm (Seekonk, Massachusetts) weathervanes, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Vallot Auctioneers.
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Contemporary greats grace Vallot’s May 18 auction

Barbara Kruger, ‘Untitled (Printed Matter Matters),’ est. $6,000-$8,000
Barbara Kruger, ‘Untitled (Printed Matter Matters),’ est. $6,000-$8,000
Barbara Kruger, ‘Untitled (Printed Matter Matters),’ est. $6,000-$8,000

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – On Wednesday, May 18, starting at 2 pm Eastern time, Vallot Auctioneers will feature contemporary art from several East Coast estates and collections. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Vintage audio equipment sets tone for Vallot’s Feb. 18 sale

Wharfedale W 90C speakers, est. $500-$1,500
Left: Wharfedale W 90C speakers, est. $500-$1,500; Right: Garrard Laboratory Series auto turntable type ‘A,’ est. $300-$500
Shown at left, Wharfedale W 90C speakers, est. $500-$1,500; shown at right, Garrard Laboratory Series auto turntable type ‘A,’ est. $300-$500

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – On February 18 at 2 pm Eastern time, Vallot Auctioneers will feature audio equipment from a single owner collection. It includes tube amplifiers, vintage speakers and a range of exotic vintage audio equipment that is so scarce, audiophiles playfully refer to it as “unobtanium.” Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Coveted Finn Juhl furnishings star in Vallot’s Oct. 15 auction

Finn Juhl 402 Chair, circa 1948, est. $2,000-$3,000
Finn Juhl 402 Chair, circa 1948, est. $2,000-$3,000
Finn Juhl 402 Chair, circa 1948, est. $2,000-$3,000

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – On October 15 at 2 pm Eastern Time, Vallot Auctioneers will feature Finn Juhl furniture designs purchased in the late 1940s by the founding family of Wise Potato Chips for their Pennsylvania modernist residence. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Long-held Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait to star at Vallot June 30 auction

Sir Thomas Lawrence, ‘Mary Anne Lady Beaumont,’ estimated at $18,000-$24,000

Sir Thomas Lawrence, ‘Mary Anne Lady Beaumont,’ estimated at $18,000-$24,000

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Vallot Auctioneers’ Artwork, Important Design and Rare Objects sale, scheduled for June 30 and starting at 2 pm Eastern time, showcases a Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait last offered at auction and acquired by the present family in 1961. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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