FRANKLIN, Mass. – An oil study attributed to Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), for perhaps the renowned English painter’s most intricate and recognizable composition – The Honourable Mrs. Graham – one of the finest examples of 18th century portraiture, is an expected headliner in Woodshed Art Auctions’ next fine art auction, titled Gainsborough, Monet, Warhol & Friends.
The auction will be held on Thursday, November 1st, online and live in the 500 Gallery, at 475 Franklin Village Drive in Franklin. Live bidding will begin promptly at 5:30 pm Eastern time. People can register and bid now, at www.woodshedartauctions.com. Previews will be held at the 500 Gallery starting on Wednesday, October 24th. Telephone and absentee bids will be accepted.
The auction will comprise a select group of 58 paintings and studies by, and attributed to, master artists such as Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988), Wifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-1982), Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956), Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), Joaquin Torres Garcia (Uruguayan, 1874-1949) and Gainsborough.
“Discovering the under-drawing on what we believe to be Gainsborough's oil study for The Honourable Mrs. Graham led to the creation of this select grouping of historic artists,” said Bruce Wood, the owner of Woodshed Art Auctions. “The range of working techniques, from 18th and 19th century academic methods to the loose Impressionist renderings, through the energetic applications of the Expressionists, provides an amazing introduction to the evolution of Western art in the past 200 years. The auction may be light on quantity, but it’s very strong on quality.”
The Honourable Mrs. Graham is one of the most famous paintings in the Scottish National Gallery. The background of the exhibited version is a quintessential Gainsborough Rococo landscape, while the study in the auction replaces a bucolic hillscape with a seemingly opaque mass of darkness, capped by an eerie sunset – a stark contrast to the pale, white Mrs. Graham.
This variation in backgrounds is a clearest indication that the work being sold is perhaps a preparation sketch for the more intricate version that hangs in Scotland. Gainsborough was famous for dabbling in a variety of prominent styles during his illustrious career, and the background in the study is reminiscent of the one in Gainsborough’s self-portrait, from 1759.
Interestingly, the subject in the painting was born Mary Cathcart, daughter of the Scottish ambassador to Russia. She spent her early years at the Court of Catherine the Great before her marriage to Thomas Graham in 1774. She was one of the most beautiful women of her time and Gainsborough, smitten with her himself, painted her multiple times, most often from memory.
The painting, in a 40 ¼ inch by 55 inch frame, has a pre-sale estimate of $75,000-$100,000. And, while it is in exceptional condition, it does show signs of age, furthering the notion that it is a study by Gainsborough. The manner of cracking is consistent with other portraits of the period, including the one in the National Gallery and in his works at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
A few other paintings in the sale carry even higher estimates than the Gainsborough. One is an acrylic and oil stick on canvas attributed to the late Pop Art icon Jean-Michel Basquiat, titled Cut Off. The 45 ½ inch by 59 inch (in the frame) painting is signed and dated (“81”) verso. It has an estimate of $80,000-$120,000. Basquiat used his art to express social commentary and criticism.
Carrying an identical $80,000-$120,000 estimate is an oil on panel abstract painting attributed to Joaquin Torres Garcia, signed and dated (“43”) bottom right and housed in an 18 ¼ inch by 30 ½ inch frame. Garcia is perhaps Uruguay’s most famous artist. He sought to synthesize the classical with the avant-garde. During his lifetime he exhibited widely and garnered international acclaim.
Yet another six-figure candidate is Jackson Pollock, the American painter widely known for his role as a leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Offered will be an enamel paint on canvas attributed to Pollock, titled Red, Orange, Yellow and Black Drip, signed and dated (“51”) bottom left. The 26 ½ inch by 38 ¾ inch unframed work has an estimate of $80,000-$100,000.
The French Impressionist Claude Monet is represented more than once in the sale, first with a tempera and gouache on paper titled Waterlilies, signed and verso marked with a gallery stamp and reference number (est. $50,000-$80,000); and second with a tempera on paper titled Winter Landscape, signed and verso stamped “Collection Simon, Paris, France.” (est. $25,000-$35,000). Both are framed attributions and come with COAs from the Art Collectors Group, Luxembourg.
An oil on canvas attributed to the internationally renowned Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, titled Horned Figures, signed bottom right and measuring 20 ¾ inches by 27 ¼ inches (framed) is expected to reach $50,000-$60,000; while a stylized rendering of Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol, signed front and back and with the verso stamp of Arthur Tooth Gallery (London) and a label with a reference number, in an 18 ¾ inch by 14 ¾ inch frame, should realize $15,000-$20,000.
An oil on board Floral Still Life attributed to Emil Carlsen (American, 1853-1932), signed bottom left, in a 10 inch by 12 inch frame, is expected to sell for $6,000-$8,000. Also, a gouache on cardstock work attributed to Andre Derain (French, 1880-1954), titled Elegant Strollers with Harlequins, signed bottom right and with an undated auction label on the back of the 15 ¾ inch by 26 inch frame, should bring $5,000-$7,000. Derain co-founded Fauvism with Henri Matisse.
Woodshed Art Auctions is a family-owned art gallery specializing in oil painting restoration and live and online art auctions, celebrating its 50th anniversary. The firm is always accepting quality artworks for future auctions. To inquire about consigning a single piece or an entire collection, you may call Bruce Wood at 508-533-6277; or, e-mail him at email@example.com.
For more about Woodshed Art Auctions and the 58-lot Gainsborough, Monet, Warhol & Friends auction scheduled for Thursday, November 1st, please log on to www.woodshedartauctions.com.
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About Woodshed Art Auctions
Woodshed Art Auctions conducts online-only fine art sales, usually featuring the most famous names in all of fine art. Most of the works in the sales are attributions.