On Thursday, July 21 through Friday, July 22, Copley Fine Art Auctions will conduct its annual Sporting Sale, offering over 700 lots of top-notch American paintings, decoys, folk art and books. The auction will be held in Plymouth, Massachusetts at the Radisson Hotel, where Copley is pleased to return to for the fifth consecutive year. Chairman and CEO Stephen O’Brien, Jr. remarked, “This is our most diverse auction to date, with everything from American Impressionist paintings, to the finest detailed miniature carvings by A. J. King. It is a landmark sale and those who miss out on this event will surely wish they hadn’t.” All items will be available for preview from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on Wednesday, July 20, as well as on Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22 from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM. The bidding for paintings and fine sporting art will begin at 11:00 AM on Thursday, with decoys following at 11:00 AM on Friday.
The sale showcases several single owner collections, including the William V. Tripp III Collection of miniature birds, which is comprised of over fifty exquisite carvings by such notables as Joseph Lincoln, George Boyd, and A. Elmer Crowell. This exceptional collection of minis was built over a fifteen year period by a gentleman with an incredibly discerning eye. This collection is bookended by the duPont-Remer Collection, consisting of over twenty miniature carvings by Allen J. King of North Scituate, Rhode Island. According to decoy expert Gigi Hopkins, this is "a strong collection, with a surprising number of family groups that show King at his very best. Some, the turkeys and tundra swan, are rare -- and the ruffed grouse is the best I've [ever] seen. The hen has her wings open so the chicks can dash to safety; an absolutely unique detail." Topping off this set is a Miniature Wild Turkey Pair with Chicks ($1,500/2,500).
Copley is also excited to present the John E. Lennon Collection which includes over seventy-five original works by Aiden Lassell Ripley as well as other works by known sporting artists and an impressive sporting library. The Lennon Collection is the most definitive compilation of etchings and drypoints by Ripley ever assembled. In this impressive grouping is the only known complete set of forty etchings ($15/25,000) from the Dana S. Lamb book, Sporting Etchings by A. Lassell Ripley, to ever cross the auction block.
Headlining the painting selection is a noteworthy oil on canvas by N.C. Wyeth titled One January Afternoon ($100/150,000). Created for The Quest of Narcisse LaBlanche, a 1916 short story by George T. Marsh, it is a stunning depiction of a dogsled team in action. The work is one of two original illustrations by Wyeth that appeared in Scribner’s Magazine along with Marsh’s story. Other significant works being auctioned off include a pair of watercolors by American Impressionist Frank W. Benson depicting water-fowling ($100/150,000). Originally purchased from the artist by Edwin C. Webster, the co-founder of Stone and Webster, one of the first electrical engineering firms in America, they are sure to impress even the most seasoned Benson collector. These watercolors are believed to have been bought immediately after the artist completed the works at a members-only hunting club off the coast of North Carolina. The sale will also feature Springers and Pheasants ($100/200,000), an outstanding oil by Aiden Lassell Ripley, a Lynn Bogue Hunt oil of a Striped Marlin ($10/20,000), and a Richard Bishop oil of geese titled Flying High ($6/9,000). Other notable artists well represented in this year’s auction include Brett J. Smith, David A. Maass, David Shepherd, Harry A. Driscole, Harry Curiuex Adamson, John Swan, Ogden M. Pleissner, Robert Bateman, Roland H. Clark, and Winslow Homer.
Crossing the block on the second day of the sale will be over 400 of the finest decoys and decorative carvings. Among these works are a number of notable carvings by Massachusetts artist A. Elmer Crowell. Crowell is widely considered the most important decoy maker of all time. A pioneering innovator, he is often referred to as the “father” of modern bird carving. These decoratives are led by an outstanding Wood Duck Drake ($100/200,000). The concise portrayal of species form, stellar paint, and early construction place it alongside the artist’s greatest achievements. Also included by the East Harwich maker is a Hudsonian Curlew ($60/90,000), which exhibits gently blended feather paint detail and a warm patina. It was carved circa 1912 and according to expert Gigi Hopkins it is the earliest and perhaps the finest Crowell Curlew known to exist.
Another decoy of importance is a Canvasback Drake ($30/50,000), carved by Maryland’s highly regarded Ward brothers. A classic 1936 carved cedar canvasback with a slightly turned head, it is the "king” of ducks portrayed in its most desirable form. With over 400 quality decoy lots ranging in price from $50 to $250,000, there is sure to be something for everyone. In addition to these birds, the second day of the sale will feature several lots of American folk art. Highlights include a John Tully Salmon carving, created circa 1905 ($10/20,000), two Vom Hofe Salmon Reels ($800/1,200 each), and a McNair Whale Weathervane ($3/5,000).
A color catalog can be purchased for $58 and appears in its entirety on Copley’s website. For more information or to order a catalog please visit www.copleyart.com, or call (617) 536-0030. Copley is currently accepting consignments for the 2012 Winter Sale to be held January 16th in New York. For information regarding consignments, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Copley Fine Art Auctions is located at 268 Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts.