Copley Fine Art Auctions will hold its Winter Sale on February 17 at the American Theater located in the Design District of Upper King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. The sale will take place on Friday, February 17 in conjunction with the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Bidding on over 450 lots will begin at 11 am, with preview times running from 8:30 am until 10:30 am.
Perennially balanced between fine art and decoys, Copley will offer a wide range of American, folk, sporting, wildlife, and western art. With its reputation for honesty, integrity, and accuracy, Copley continues to set benchmarks in the field. Copley’s sales have led the pack with first-rate offerings and strong results for the past decade. The Winter Sale 2017 will offer the opportunity to see and take home world-class paintings, fine bird carvings, and antique hunting and fishing collectibles.
Decoy highlights include a stellar selection of works by A.E. Crowell, such as a rare “dust jacket” plover in original paint and emerging plumage ($30/40,000). Also set to cross the block is a rare Charles Birch swan ($50/70,000) and a flying mallard pair with outstretched wings carved and painted by the Ward brothers of Crisfield, Maryland ($40/50,000). The Ward mallards round out perhaps the strongest offering of Ward decorative carvings to come to auction. Other examples include a standing blue-winged teal pair ($24/28,000), a rare feeding curlew ($17,500/$22,500), a preening Canada goose ($14/16,000), and a bluebill pair ($6/9,000).
The Grant Nelson Collection of Shorebird Decoys is one of the finest ever assembled. For two decades, Nelson’s focus was on acquiring exemplary works with great form, surface, and impeccable provenance. In this important session, carvings hail from the collections of Asa Allen, Adele Earnest, Robert Congdon, Alan Haid, Harold Herrick, William J. Mackey, Jr., Dr. James McCleery, and William Butler. Nelson’s acquisitions, totaling well over one hundred birds, are a defining collection in the field. Highlights include the McCleery Bunn/Bowman golden plover, which is one of the finest plover decoys known and is exceedingly rare ($50/70,000). Also available, the Herrick-Ward yellowlegs is one of the finest Bunn/Bowman decoys held in private hands ($50/70,000). The majority of the birds from this famous Herrick Collection reside at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.
A flying blue-winged teal pair by New York maker Chauncey Wheeler ($24/28,000) will come up for auction along with a flying pintail drake by Ira Hudson ($22/28,000). Additionally, a pair of wading greater yellowlegs by Noah Bernard Sterling, of Crisfield, Maryland, will be available ($18/24,000). These striking carvings were made famous in Adele Earnest’s seminal 1965 publication, The Art of The Decoy.
An exceptional sleeping pintail drake from the Morris-Davids rig is set to cross the block ($15/25,000). Richard Wistar Davids, the maker, and first cousin of famed carver Albert Davids Laing, was a Union officer in Company B, Pennsylvania 118th Infantry Regiment, and was killed in the Wheatfield during the Battle of Gettysburg. Important new provenance regarding this rig has come to light and accompanies the decoy for the first time.
An important Carriage House pintail drake, with its cranked head and exceptional paint, is one of the finest Carriage House rig decoys known to exist ($10/20,000). The famous rig was found in a carriage house on the Ernest Lehmann estate, in Lake Villa, Illinois. Also on offer will be an unusual hollow standing pintail drake out of maker Charles S. Schoenheider’s personal gunning rig ($25/35,000), and two extremely rare and early carvings from the 1870s by New York maker Harvey Stevens, a mallard drake ($8/10,000) and a canvasback drake ($7/9,000). Over 230 additional decoy lots from important collections by well-known carvers across the country will be up for auction.
Paintings are led by Delaware artist Frank E. Schoonover’s canoe scene Trappers on the Lake ($100/150,000). Trappers on the Lake was created by the artist for Canadian author Constance Lindsay Skinner’s 1933 story, My Canoe Is All My Good. With its bright colors and handsomely rendered figures, the painting depicts a tranquil, merry day and stands among the finest paintings by the artist.
Two watercolors by Frank W. Benson will highlight the selection of American paintings: Wood Duck ($40/50,000), which appeared as the frontispiece for William Brewster’s 1937 book Concord River, and Flying Eddy ($40/60,000), a dynamic 1923 salmon fishing scene. Although he painted numerous scenes associated with salmon fishing, Flying Eddy is one of only a few by the artist that portrays the actual act of fishing.
Additionally, two notable oil paintings by Ohio artist Edmund Osthaus will cross the block. Pointer and Quail ($30/50,000) is related to the world-record setting work with the same title sold by Copley in 2008 for $230,500. In this dynamic composition, the pointer turns and points at the downed quail in an autumnal landscape. On Point ($25/35,000) is a rare, vertically-oriented painting which formerly belonged to Alvin B. Tillinghast, an eminent businessman, neighbor, and great friend of Osthaus in Toledo, Ohio.
A wide selection of prints from the Ernest and Carolyn Kramer Collection will be on offer, including fine examples of sporting art by Frank W. Benson and works by many other important twentieth century printmakers. Twenty-two rare and collectible Benson etchings, such as The Log Jam ($6/9,000) and The Retriever ($4/6,000) will be available, alongside multiple Aiden Lassell Ripley prints and additional items by noted American printmakers Anders Zorn, Raphael Soyer, and others.
Two fine hanging game still lifes by early Providence artist Frederick Stone Batcheller (each $5/7,000) will also be available. Paintings and works on paper by artists, such as Harry Curieux Adamson, Owen J. Gromme, David Hagerbaumer, Lynn Bogue Hunt, Bob Kuhn, William Goadby Lawrence, David A. Maass, Ogden Pleissner, Aiden Lassell Ripley, William J. Schaldach, Peter Markham Scott, and Milton Weiler, will be sold. Multiple works by noted ornithological painters Robert Verity Clem, John Henry Dick, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, and Roger Tory Peterson will cross the block, among many others.
Contemporary sporting and wildlife artists Thomas Aquinas Daly, Luke Frazier, Ewoud de Groot, Chet Reneson, Brett Smith, and John Swan will be represented. De Groot, a dynamic Dutch artist who combines abstraction with beautifully rendered birds in his paintings, marks his Copley debut with Oystercatchers ($8/10,000) and Reflection ($8/10,000). An oil painting by John Swan, who is the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust’s 2017 Featured Artist, will be sold to benefit the BTT. Tails ($8/12,000) beautifully depicts fishing on the flats.
A rare full-bodied whale carving by Clark Voorhees ($6/9,000) is included in the sale, along with a small landscape painting by Voorhees’ father, Clark Greenwood Voorhees ($9/1,200), who was one of the co-founders of the Old Lyme, Connecticut Art Colony.
Fishing-related items are led by a notable group of paintings and carvings by Canadian artist and fisherman Tommy Brayshaw. On offer will be mixed media drawings of different types of trout and salmon, as well as painted carvings, such as a steelhead trout trophy plaque ($5/8,000). Flies tied by Megan Boyd ($4/600) and Payne and Leonard fly rods round out the antique collectible fishing items in the sale.
Online bidding on over 450 items will be available through Bidsquare and Copley Live. A full-color print catalog will be available. The auction will take place at the American Theater in Charleston, South Carolina. Bidding will commence at 11 am on Friday, February 17, with a preview from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. For more information, a full schedule of events, or to order a catalog, please send an email to email@example.com, call 617.536.0030, or visit copleyart.com.
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About Copley Fine Art Auctions
Copley Fine Art Auction experts provide a host of services for collectors: Appraisals, including trusts and estates; auction, gallery, and private sales; collections management; custom framing and restoration. Whether you're a new or seasoned collector, we are happy to discuss options for the formation, development, or sale of a collection encompassing our specialties. We work with private collectors, museums, and corporations nationwide, and have helped form many leading collections. In addition, we offer advice regarding personal property for trusts, estates, and private clients to aid fiduciaries, executors, advisors, and collectors.