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Watercolor of an urban street scene attributed to John Singer Sargent, which hammered for $26,000 and sold for $32,500 with buyer’s premium at Amelia Jeffers.

Two ‘possibly’ John Singer Sargent watercolors commanded attention at Amelia Jeffers

DELAWARE, Ohio – Two watercolors in the manner of John Singer Sargent sailed above their estimates when offered by Amelia Jeffers on March 7 during the first day of a three-day auction. Both works were part of a collection of more than 300 Renaissance, Modernist, and 19th-century paintings from the estate of Carl Eriksson, a civil engineer and past president of the Scandinavian Club of Columbus.

These two watercolor sketches were both described as ‘possibly John Singer Sargent’. Eriksson had unknowingly bought both together: one had been found folded and tucked behind the other in its frame after purchase.

The larger and more ‘finished’ of the two works was a 6-by-8in urban street scene populated with the well-dressed of European or American society. With more than enough technical skill on show to convince bidders the signature was ‘right’, it hammered well above the $800-$1,200 estimate at $26,000 and sold for $32,500 with buyer’s premium.

The smaller of the two works at 5.5 by 4.5in – the bonus buy found inside the frame – was signed and titled on the verso as A Wet Day in Venice. Additional framer’s notes and the price of 20 francs appeared in pencil below. Between 1898 and 1913 Sargent visited Venice almost every year, attracted by a community of friends and colleagues who gathered there and by the city’s scenic possibilities. In this composition, a sculpture loosely formed in the foreground appears to depict a lion – the emblem of St Mark, patron saint of the city. This work hammered for $7,750 and sold for $9,687 with buyer’s premium against the same $800-$1,200 estimate.

Complete results for all three sale days can be seen at LiveAuctioneers.