Grogan & Company is delighted to mark their 30th year of serving New England families with the sale of their fine art, jewelry, and antiques with their November 5th auction, which features a well-curated selection of 337 lots of fine art, jewelry, and decorative art. Works by notable artists such as John Singer Sargent, Milton Avery, William McGregor Paxton, Aiden Lassell Ripley, and Aldro Hibbard are accompanied by jewelry by venerable designers Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, David Webb, Patek Philippe, Tiffany & Co., and Burle Marx against the backdrop of important silver and decorative art.
The auction kicks off with a selection of over 100 paintings, drawings, and photographs. A number of the fine art highlights have descended through the families for which they were painted. For example, a lively John Singer Sargent 21 x 16 in. oil sketch, titled Candelabra with Roses and estimated at $50,000-100,000, has descended through the family of American artist (and friend of Sargent) Francis Davis Millet. Sargent spent time with the Millet family in the Cotswolds in 1885-86, and the recent Sargent Catalogue Raisonne dates the work to those years.
Portrait of Ruth Gaston, a strong 31 x 26 in. William McGregor Paxton oil with an estimate of $20,000-40,000, was commissioned by Ruth’s father, Boston financier William Gaston. In the painting, Ruth stares out at the viewer, her arms crossed, a kitten in her lap, and a serious pout on her face. The painting has hung in the home of Ruth’s family since she sat for the work as a child in 1900. In the work, Paxton’s confident, loose brushstrokes, bold use of color, and strong rendering of texture come together to make this painting a noteworthy representation of Paxton’s early impressionistic style, examples of which are exceedingly rare, as most were destroyed in an early 20th century studio fire.
An early Milton Avery oil depicting a woman atop a white horse was given by the artist to his friend, a New York lady, in the late 1920s/early 1930s. The consignors, who grew up with the painting hanging over the fireplace in their childhood home, fondly remember hearing stories of their great-aunt’s days in New York City, when she hosted soirees with many of the leading creative thinkers of the 1920s and 30s. This 25 x 30 in. painting is offered at $50,000-100,000.
Other American art highlights include Santo Spirito, a striking 13 x 11 in. George L.K. Morris oil (est. $10,000-15,000) and Richard Miller’s Black Mantilla (oil, 36 x 34 in., est. $50,000-100,000). Several unusual works by Aiden Lassell Ripley will also cross the block: two 24 x 16 in. brightly colored oils that were each used as magazine covers in the 1920s (est. $1,000-2,000 each), two Revolutionary War scenes - a 15 x 22 in. oil depiction of the Battle of Bunker Hill (est. $3,000-5,000) and a 10 x 15 in. drawing of the Retreat from Concord (est. $4,000-6,000), and two sketches of the Native American chief Passaconaway (each 11 x 9 in, each est. $5,000-10,000).
The auction also features multiple works by New England artists including Aldro Thompson Hibbard, Arthur Clifton Goodwin, John Joseph Enneking, William Trost Richards, and Emile Gruppe. Paintings by artists such as Robert Bruce Crane, George Gardner Symons, Frederick Mulhaupt, George Hallowell, Robert Emmett Owen, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, and two portrait miniatures attributed to Henry Pelham round out the selection of American paintings. Other fine art highlights include several Old Master scenes and still lives, including a 16th century Italian School oil on panel depicting The Taking of Christ (43 x 30 in., est. $5,000-10,000), a monumental 47 x 75 in. swag of flowers by Dutch painter Jean Baptiste Bosschaert (est. $4,000-6,000), and an oil on panel from the circle of early Baroque artist Jacopo Vignali depicting the Miracle of the Mule (14 x 45 in., est. $5,000-10,000).
An offering of 20 works by noted American photographer Carleton E. Watkins (1829- 1916) immediately follows the fine art portion of the sale. These mammoth-plate albumen prints (each approx. 20 x 16 in.) are rare and important examples of Watkins early images of Yosemite. Most date to 1865-6, and were likely printed in the following few years. Watkins’ negatives did not survive into the twentieth century, and there are fewer than ten known copies of many of these images. Each work is inscribed verso on the mount in what is thought to be Watkins’ own hand. The photographs are each being offered separately, with estimates ranging from $1-2,000 to $8-12,000.
The jewelry portion of the sale is headlined by a private collection of jewelry from a South Carolina family. The most historical piece in the group is an impressive French ca. 1850 gold, platinum, ruby, diamond, and natural pearl brooch which was purportedly in the collection of Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. Upon fleeing to London at the fall of the Second Empire in 1871, Eugénie sold much of her extensive jewelry collection, including this brooch to the renowned British jeweler, Harry Emanuel. Mrs. Ernest Raphael (née Flora Cecilia Sassoon) subsequently acquired the brooch, and John Singer Sargent painted a portrait of Mrs. Raphael wearing the brooch in 1905. Both the brooch and the painting remained in the Raphael family until 1983, at which point they were offered for sale at Christie's. The brooch was purchased by a private South Carolina collector, whose family offers it for sale today. It bears an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
Additional highlights from the South Carolina collection include a rare Victorian gold, silver, and diamond rivière necklace set with approximately 50 carats of old mine-cut diamonds, the largest individual diamond weighing approximately 4 carats. The rivière necklace bears an estimate of $30,000-50,000. Signed pieces from the collection include a Van Cleef & Arpels yellow sapphire, emerald, and diamond paisley-form brooch dated 1964 and estimated at $15,000-25,000, a Mauboussin, Paris Art Deco diamond and emerald lapel watch with an estimate of $6,000-8,000, and a David Webb suite comprised of earrings and a cocktail ring set with impressively sized and deeply hued aquamarines estimated at $4,000-6,000 for the earrings and $6,000-8,000 for the ring. The collection also includes a remarkable platinum and diamond ring set with an emerald-cut diamond weighing 8.31 cts. (GIA F, SI1) with an estimate of $60,000-80,000.
A collection of a Milton, Massachusetts lady includes an impressive group of jewelry by the Brazilian pioneering modernist jeweler Haroldo Burle Marx. His bold, geometric designs are well reflected in this collection which includes a brooch, earrings, two rings, tie pins, and the highlight of the group, a gold and aquamarine necklace, estimated at $10,000-15,000. Another signed highlight is a Tiffany & Co. Art Deco platinum and diamond bracelet from the estate of a Newton, Massachusetts lady. The classic bracelet is also estimated at $10,000-15,000.
Silver follows the jewelry portion of the sale and features several important lots including a large collection of Tiffany & Co “Shell and Thread” flatware. The flatware service for at least twelve place settings includes many additional serving pieces and is estimated at $10,000- 12,000. Another silver highlight is a rare International Silver Co. large format Boston lighthouse silver plate cocktail shaker estimated at $8,000-12,000.
Decorative art concludes the sale with several interesting and rare items. A colorful 12 x 3 feet wallpaper design by Maria Likarz of the early 20th century Austrian design firm Wiener Werkstätte bears a $2,000-4,000 estimate. A fine Simon Willard mahogany inlaid tall case clock, ca 1800, with a painted moon phase dial bears a $15,000-25,000 estimate and an unusual Lemul Curtis gilt front banjo clock rounds out the clock offers with an estimate of $3,000-5,000. The final highlight of the sale is a grand French Empire fruitwood ormolu mounted secretaire with inset clock, from a north shore Massachusetts family, estimated at $5,000-10,000.
The auction will be held on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 12 noon at Grogan & Company, 20 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114. For more information, including exhibition hours and the online catalogue, visit www.groganco.com.
Grogan & Company
20 Charles Street
About Grogan & Company
Established in 1987, Grogan & Company assists the Boston and greater New England community with the sale of their fine art and antiques. Specializing in quality jewelry, fine art, silver, decorative arts, and Oriental carpets, Grogan & Company holds four to six auctions annually featuring items across all collecting genres.
Georgina C. Winthrop
Grogan & Company