Copley Fine Art Auctions' Winter Sale Returns to New York City, January 16, 2012

  • BOSTON, Massachusetts
  • /
  • December 23, 2011

  • Email
Charles Birch (1867-1956), Swan, Willis Wharf, VA, Estimate: $90,000-$120,000.
Copley Fine Art Auctions


Following the success of last year’s inaugural Winter Sale, Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC is once again returning to New York City for their premier American art event. The sale, held in conjunction with Keno Auctions, marks the start of Americana Week on January 16, 2012 in Wallace Hall at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue. This major sale of sporting art includes over 500 lots of paintings, prints, decoys, duck calls, fish carvings, rods, reels, Navajo blankets, Nantucket baskets, folk art, and over 300 books from a sporting library.  

Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (1869-1959), In the Cedar Swamp, Oil on canvas, 36 by 42 inches, Estimate: $150,000-$250,000.
Copley Fine Art Auctions

After a stellar performance at the July 2011 Sporting Sale, Copley has assembled several significant collections containing notable decoys and decorative bird carvings. Among the most important birds offered is a Charles Birch (1867-1956) swan ($90/120,000). This swan, with its graceful down-turned head, long slender neck, and sleek body is one of the finest Birch examples known to exist.

Another notable lot, consigned by a direct descendant of John Blair, includes a swimming bluebill drake ($20/40,000) by John Blair, Jr. (1881-1953) and John Blair, Sr.'s (1843-1929) Belgian side-by-side, muzzle loading, eight gauge shotgun.

A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952), Preening Greater Yellowlegs, East Harwich, MA, Estimate: $40,000-$60,000
Copley Fine Art Auctions

Copley will offer several top-tier decoys from the Mid-Atlantic; among the highlights are a Bishops Head swimming Canada goose by the Ward brothers (Lemuel T., 1896-1983 and Stephen, 1895-1976) and an Obediah Verity (1850-1910) black bellied-plover ($25/40,000). Decoys from New Jersey are well represented, and include a rare “hook bill” curlew by William Roberts ($20/30,000), as well as a bufflehead ($30/50,000) and brant ($5/7,000) by Harry V. Shourds (1861-1920).

Copley will auction off numerous carvings by the East Harwich maker A. E. Crowell (1862-1952). In addition to the full-size preening greater yellowlegs ($40/60,000), flying green-winged teal drake ($50/70,000), standing preening black duck ($30/60,000), and preening Hudsonian curlew ($60/90,000), Copley has assembled a variety of miniature decorative bird carvings. Headlined by a complete set of twenty-five miniature waterfowl ($100/150,000) the Sale will include over seventy miniatures in total, with an array of species, from eider, to stilt, to bluebird.

The Winter Sale 2012 will also showcase numerous birds from the Mason Decoy Factory (1896-1924), including some of the finest shorebird examples known, such as a salesman’s sample golden plover ($12/16,000), two rare robin snipe, one in spring plumage ($8/12,000) and one in winter ($6/9,000), and a dowitcher ($8/12,000); as well as a pair of premier grade mallards ($50/70,000) from the coveted “G.K. Schmidt” rig, along with several other lots of Mason waterfowl.

Among a number of important late additions to the sale are a high-head pintail hen ($50/70,000) from the Kankakee marsh and a three-piece Dexter/Gardener (Dr. Clarence T. Gardner, 1844-1907 and Newton Dexter, d. 1901) Willet ($40/60,000).

In part two of the sale a stately oil of moose by world-renowned wildlife artist Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (1869-1959) titled In the Cedar Swamp ($150/250,000) aims to follow the success Copley saw with other works by the artist in their 2010 Sporting Sale when they sold five oils out of the H. Wendell Endicott Rungius collection for a total of $1.34 million.

A large Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927) painting of wild turkey ($20/40,000) is not only one of the premier depictions of this North American game bird ever to come to market, but is also perhaps the most important work by the artist to be offered at auction.

Waiting for its Master ($100/200,000), a canine painting by Alexander Pope Jr. (1849-1924), represents some of the artist’s finest work and is another of Copley’s highlights. This painting displays Pope’s talent for depicting rich texture and minute detail.  An expertly rendered trompe l’oeil still life of hanging game ($20/30,000) by Pope’s contemporary, R. LaBarre Goodwin (1840-1910), is also expected to have a strong showing.

Bob Kuhn’s (1920-2007) A Two Brooks Idyll ($20/40,000) features famous fly reel maker Stanley Bogdan fishing on the Restigouche River. Although Kuhn was an avid fly fisherman, he rarely depicted his hobby in his paintings.

Copley will auction off several important watercolors, including a superb driven grouse scene ($30/50,000) by Ogden M. Pleissner (1905-1983). Other significant items in the painting sale include notable, original works by George Browne (1918-1958), Frank W. Benson (1862-1951), Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969), Harry Curieux Adamson (b. 1916) and contemporary artists John Swan (b. 1948), Chet Reneson (b. 1934),  Luke Frazier (b. 1970), and Brett J. Smith (b. 1958).

Also featured in the sale is a rare complete set of twelve prints from A.B. Frost’s (1851-1928) Shooting Pictures ($7/10,000), along with the original folio and information sheets from 1895; four top-notch bronze sculptures by William Koelpin (1938-1996); a gentleman’s sporting library with over three hundred titles; and several diverse lots of American Folk Art, including nine noteworthy Navajo weavings in various textures, colors and patterns ($8/12,000); a historic John Bellamy (1836-1914) eagle ($20/30,000); and Nantucket Lightship Baskets.

Copley will once again kick off the week with their Scotch and Smoked Salmon Preview Party, beginning at 5:30pm on Saturday, January 14th. The one day sale will commence at 11am the following Monday, January 16th. For more information, a full schedule of events, or to order a catalog please contact Aimee Stashak-Moore at, call 617.536.0030, or visit

Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC is located at 268 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116.

  • Email

ARTFIXdaily Artwire