CRANSTON, R.I. – An oil on canvas landscape painting by the Scottish-born abstract modernist William Gear (1915-1997), titled Paysage, Mai 50 (May Landscape, 1950), sold for $11,875, and a large oil on canvas maritime seascape work of a brigantine ship at sea by Wesley Elbridge Webber (Am., 1841-1914) brought $9,375 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ November 25th sale.
The 436-lot Estate, Antiques, Fine & Decorative Art Auction was held in Bruneau & Co.’s gallery, located at 63 Fourth Avenue in Cranston, plus online via Bidlive.Bruneauandco.com, Invaluable.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Bidsquare.com. About 210 people attended the sale in person, while another 11,487 registered to bid online. Phone and absentee bids were also taken.
As expected, the William Gear painting was the auction’s top lot, finishing at the top of of an eclectic mix of merchandise that featured period furniture, fine art, sculptures, modern design, art pottery, Waterford crystal, Baccarat chandeliers, fine Oriental rugs and carpets, and other rare, unusual items from across New England. In the end, the sale grossed a rather robust $187,285.
The Gear painting depicted an amalgamation of abstracted naturalistic forms in an earthly palette over a gray background, and was housed in a 33 inch by 26 ½ inch frame. The work was signed and dated in the lower right corner (and verso) and had a compelling back story and provenance.
In 1950, the same year Gear painted Paysage, Mai 50, he left Paris, where he’d been living, for New York, to take part in a joint exhibition with his esteemed contemporary, Jackson Pollock. It would be Gear’s one and only American exhibition. While in the States, Gear met the woman who would be his future wife – Deborah Chertok – and he gifted this very painting to her sister.
The maritime seascape painting by Wesley Elbridge Webber was indeed large, at 50 inches by 80 inches (framed). It depicted a brigantine vessel at sea, with the bow facing the foreground and a cutter vessel trailing behind, with two steam-powered vessels in the background. The painting, signed by Webber, also showed two figures in administrative uniform, and a buoy in the water.
“The auction was a great way to end the Thanksgiving weekend,” said Bruneau & Co. President Kevin Bruneau. “It was interesting to see such heightened international interest in the William Gear landscape and the pair of James Rizzi lithographs while being offered in the United States.”
He was referring to the two cut-out, three-dimensional lithograph assemblages by the noted pop artist James Rizzi (N.Y., 1950-2011). One, titled Sidewalk Café (1987), depicted a bustling city with a café in the foreground ($4,062). The other, titled Fall (1988), showed city dwellers in a park, observing the turning foliage ($2,500). Both lithos were artist-signed, titled and numbered.
Two artworks by Mexican muralists found their way into the list of top lots. One was a figural bronze sculpture of a woman by Francisco Zuniga (1912-1998), 23 ¼ inches tall on a beveled black marble plinth ($4,062). The woman was depicted as pregnant and barefoot, dressed in a rebozo and long skirt. The work was signed (“Zuniga”), dated (“1972”) and editioned (4 of 10).
The other was an oil on canvas laid on Masonite by Manuel Herrera Cartalla (1915-1977). The painting depicted a fiddler and his son, despondently seated and barefoot on a grey blanket, each with blank, emotionless expressions ($2,812). The signed work measured 21 ½ inches by 27 inches, framed. Cartalla was a contemporary of the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957).
“This auction truly exemplified the shift in antique and fine art collectors and what they collect today,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer. “The Francisco Zuniga sculpture and the Manuel Herrera Cartalla painting received an astounding amount of attention from onlookers in the gallery, just as if they were the two Wesley Webbers from 20 years ago.”
Two very different lots each posted an identical selling price of $2,375. One was a large, 19th century Japanese Meiji period gilt wood folding screen, consisting of six panels decorated with a rickshaw holding a twin-handled squat vessel with chrysanthemum and wisteria. Each panel measured 24 inches wide by 84 inches tall – an impressive sight at 12 feet wide when opened.
The other was an American-made, circa-1969 Schwinn Stingray Pea Picker bicycle from the Krate series, introduced in 1968. The bike featured a five-speed center Stik-shift with spring suspension fork, a spring cushion saddle seat and enhanced braking and handling (compared to the non-Krate series, standard Stingray model). The bicycle appeared to be an original survivor.
A large oil and acrylic on canvas abstract painting by the Dominican modernist Candido Bido (1936-2011), titled El Drama, signed and dated (1991), realized $2,000. The work depicted two opposing female busts staggered in height, with an abstract form bird in the foreground. The painting was executed in Dido’s iconic blazing yellow, turquoise blue and fiery orange palette.
Rounding out just some of the sale’s highlights, an American 19th century primitive folk art step-back pine hutch, consisting of a cabinet and two-drawer low section with a beveled door front supporting a multi-tier shelving unit, breezed to $1,875. The 77 ½ inch tall by 76 inch wide hutch was finished in black over red stain and was in overall good shape, with just minor wear.
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers will hold a live-only (no online bidding) DiscoverIt Estates Auction on Monday, December 11th, and a live-only comic and toy auction on Monday, December 18th. To learn more about Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers and the firm’s calendar of upcoming events, visit www.bruneauandco.com. You may e-mail Bruneau & Co., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
63 Fourth Avenue
Cranston, Rhode Island
About Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers is a full-service auction company based in Cranston, R.I. The firm specializes in fine art, antiques and collectibles in the liquidation of estates and collections.
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
P: (401) 533-9980