(MILFORD, Conn.) – An oil on canvas of a young woman striking a wistful pose in a field by the American genre and landscape painter Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942), titled Far Away Thoughts, sold for $192,000 at Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers’ fall fine art auction held Oct. 24 in the firm’s Milford gallery, located at 354 Woodmont Road.
The painting, measuring 22 inches by 18 inches, was signed lower left by the artist and has been slated for inclusion in the upcoming catalogue raisonne of Curran’s works by Kaycee Benton. Curran was a prolific painter, known for his light-filled renderings, often of young women. This painting was a prime example of his work. It was also the top lot of the auction.
In all, 300 paintings came up for bid in a sale that grossed just over $2.4 million. About 80 people attended the auction in person, while another 600 registered to bid online via Artfact.com. A full bank of 20 phones saw heavy use throughout the evening. “Overall we were quite pleased,” said Gene Shannon of Shannon Fine Art Auctioneers.
He added, “The results were very rewarding, and it demonstrated to us that the middle market for fine art – that is, works selling for under $50,000 – is definitely back after having taken a hit since October 2008. The high end never missed a beat. It has and probably always will do well. But this sale was strong. We had bidders from 45 countries and as many states.”
There certainly was something for just about everybody in the auction – examples from the Hudson River School, works by Cape Ann artists, American Impressionists, European and American Modern and Abstract artists and more. There was also an excellent private collection of around 40 works of American Tonalism that attracted great interest and was 85 percent sold.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
A diminutive, rediscovered abstract collage by the Abstract Expressionist master Franz JosefKline (Am., 1910-1962), realized $120,000. The oil on paper, signed lower left, was 8 ½ inches by 10 ¾ inches. Also, a 1951 oil painting of a young woman bathing in an outdoor stream with a female attendant, by Philippine artist Fernando Amorsolo (1892-1972) went for $60,000.
A pair of large and rare oil on canvas views of Niagara Falls by Fedinand Richardt (Am., 1819-1895) came up for bid, with both expected to fetch $20,000 or more. They did, and the one titled View of Niagara Falls (36 inches by 29 inches, signed lower left) hit $66,000. The works hung across one another at one time at the exclusive Niagara Club, overlooking the famous Falls.
Guy Carleton Wiggins (Am., 1883-1962) was famous for his snowy Manhattan street scenes. One such work, a 24 inch by 20 inch oil on canvas titled St. Patrick’s in Winter, signed lower left and on the reverse, brought $60,000. Also, an untitled oil on paper by the American artist Michael Goldberg, measuring 10 ¾ inches by 13 ¾ inches, artist signed, made $50,400.
An oil on canvas by John Koch (Am., 1909-1978), titled Christmas Tree, signed lower left, 36 inches by 30 inches, breezed to $42,000. Also, two marine paintings by Antonio Jacobsen (Am., 1850-1921), titled Defender and Tidal Wave and the Dreadnought, both oil on boards and 14 inches by 22 inches, commanded $40,800 and $24,000, respectively.
An oil on panel marine painting by James Edward Buttersworth (Am., 1817-1894), titled Off Sandy Hook, one of about 600 works by the artist depicting subjects he observed in the waters off New York, rose to $36,000; and an oil on canvas coastline scene by Emil Carlsen (Am., 1848-1932), titled Full Tide Coast of Maine, 30 inches by 35 inches, brought $36,000.
Multiple offerings from the iconic Pop Artists Andy Warhol (Am., 1928-1987) and Roy Lichtenstein (Am., 1923-1977) were in the sale. Five Warhols came up for bid, including three from his Martha Graham Series. One of those, titled Letter to the World (The Kick) gaveled for $38,400. Three Lichtensteins were offered, the top achiever being one titled Crak! ($26,400).
A pair of 1916 depictions of lower New York City by the American artist Jane Peterson (1876-1965), titled Mott Street and The Ghetto, New York, both signed and dated gouache works, sold at $26,400 and $24,000, respectively. Two other paintings by the artist were also sold, at $12,000 and $26,400.
Works by Cape Ann artists proved to be a big hit with bidders. Tops among them was Frederick J. Mulhaupt (Am., 1871-1938), whose 16 inch by 20 inch signed oil on board titled Low Tide St. Ives Harbor, Cornwall, England changed hands for $38,400. The painting, housed in a fine Stanford White-style frame, was titled and inscribed on the reverse.
Two other Cape Ann artists also deserve mention. An oil on canvas by Aldro Thompson Hibbard (Am., 1886-1972), titled Bridge at Barnet, New Hampshire, signed lower right, titled on the reverse, earned $26,400; and a 20 inch by 24 inch oil on canvas by Max Kuehne (Am., 1880-1968), titled View of East Gloucester and Rocky Neck From Point Hill, hammered for $20,400.
Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers’ next big sale is scheduled for Thursday, April 24th, also in the Milford gallery. Already consigned is a collection of Pop Art. Quality consignments for this and all future auctions are actively being sought. To consign one piece, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them at (203) 877-1711; or you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historically, Shannon’s has specialized in American and European art executed between 1840 and 1940. In recent years the firm has expanded more into post-war Modern and Pop Art. Shannon’s produces an extensive 180-page color catalog for its sales, which is available for sale on their website (shannons.com). A large, eight-page color brochure also gets mailed to 18,000 clients.
To learn more about Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers and the upcoming spring fine art auction scheduled for April 24th, 2014, please log on to www.shannons.com.
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About Shannon's Fine Art Auctioneers
Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneer’s opened in 1997 as Connecticut’s premier fine art auction house. Founded by partners Gene and Mary Anne Shannon, the firm quickly established a reputation for integrity, knowledge of fine art and personalized service. With over 40 years of experience as a fine art dealer and auctioneer, Gene Shannon provides his clients specialist knowledge of American and European 19th and early 20th century paintings and the fine art market.