Eldred's Americana + Paintings Auction Features Collection of Art Dealer Julian Kotekas

  • EAST DENNIS, Massachusetts
  • /
  • March 10, 2018

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Landscape by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (Dutch/German, 1803-1862), the "Prince of Landscape Painting", estimated at $30,000/50,000.

Eighty-five paintings from the estate of from the estate of Lewis “Julian” Kotekas, an art dealer and collector from Manchester, New Hampshire, highlight Eldred’s Americana + Paintings auction, scheduled for April 6-7 at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. The 800-lot sale, which also features items from the Claflin estate of Marion, Massachusetts, and items from the estate of Ambassador Charles Richard Crane, will include antique furniture, Oriental rugs, silver and decorative arts.

“We’re honored to bring items from Julian’s vast personal collection to market,” said Joshua Eldred, president of Eldred’s and head of its Fine Arts department, about the Kotekas Collection. “Everyone who met him agrees Julian was a bit eccentric, but he had a wonderful eye and a particular fondness for period unsigned paintings. Over the course of our 11-year relationship he told me many, many times ‘that’s not for sale,’ so while a few pieces in the Collection were purchased not long before his untimely passing, the vast majority have been off the market for many years.”

In the spirit of discovery that drove Julian’s passion for art collecting, items from his Collection will be sold without reserve. Anticipated top lots include two works by John Ross Key (Maryland/Washington, D.C., 1837-1920): a scene off Mt. Desert Island in Maine, estimated at $20,000/30,000, and a view of Mt. Washington meadows, estimated at $8,000/12,000. Other highlights include a Cyrus Edwin Dallin (Massachusetts/Utah/France, 1861-1944) bronze “On the War Path”, estimated at $15,000/25,000, a Dawson Dawson-Watson (Missouri/Texas, 1864-1939) vineyard scene, estimated at $8,000/12,000, and “Trout Brook” by John Joseph Enneking (Massachusetts, 1841-1916), estimated at $8,000/12,000.  

“While the Collection includes a number of important works by listed artists, there’s also many beautifully executed pieces by anonymous artists that carry moderate estimates. It’s a wonderful opportunity for a novice collector,” Eldred said. Estimates on the Collection range from $300/500 for an American School scene of a woman with a parasol to $30,000/50,000 for a Tiffany Studios “Greek Key” table lamp.  

Notable paintings from outside the Kotekas Collection include a small Louis Comfort Tiffany watercolor depicting boats off a coast, likely southern Europe, estimated at $3,000/5,000, a Provincetown street scene by Pauline Palmer, estimated at $15,000/25,000, and a group of four Charles Green Shaw (New York, 1892-1974) abstracts, ranging in estimate from $1,000/2,000 to $5,000/10,000. A portrait of a Jewish World War II refugee and a floral still life, both by Françoise Gilot (France/New York, b. 1921), known as being one of Picasso’s mistresses, are also included, carrying estimates of $10,000/15,000 and $1,500/2,500. Works by Rockport School artists, including Aldro Thompson Hibbard and Emile Gruppe, are part of the sale, as are multiple works by Cape Cod artists including John Whorf, Ross Moffett and Anne Packard.

Expected the fetch the highest price in the auction is a Dutch forest scene by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (Dutch/German, 1803-1862), which carries a conservative pre-sale estimate of $30,000/50,000. The finely executed work, which features wood gatherers in a winter landscape dominated by a massive oak tree, is signed and dated “B.C. Koekkoek 1854” and comes from a private collection in Massachusetts. Similar works by the artist have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years. Koekkoek was known during his lifetime as the “Prince of Landscape Painting” and is regarded as a founding father of Dutch romantic landscape painting.

The sale also features a number of fine furniture lots, highlighted by a circa 1790 sideboard by cabinetmakers John and Thomas Seymour, estimated at $18,000/25,000. A nearly identical example is illustrated in “The Furniture Masterworks of John & Thomas Seymour” by Robert D. Mussey, Jr. A Connecticut Queen Anne bonnet-top highboy that descended in the family of Israel Moseley is estimated at $12,000/15,000, and a circa 1780 Salem Chippendale serpentine-front bureau with a wonderful old finish is estimated at $5,000/8,000. A Federal card table attributed to Charles-Honoré Lannuier, a French cabinetmaker who worked in New York City, estimated at $4,000/6,000, comes from the Claflin Estate of Marion, Massachusetts.

Other items from the Claflin Estate include a pair of portraits in the manner of Ammi Phillips, estimated at $3,000/4,000, and an exceptional early 19th Century leather fire bucket decorated with a spread-wing eagle and a shield with two speaking trumpets, estimated at $2,500/3,500.

“I walked in and said ‘Wow!”, said Bill Bourne, head of Eldred’s Americana department. “It’s a really nice batch of mostly New England antiques and accessories. It’s getting rarer to see this kind of old estate collection.”

The third featured collection in the sale is comprised of material descended in the family of Ambassador Charles Richard Crane (1858-1939), an American businessman and diplomat with a deep interest in Eastern European and Middle Eastern culture. In 1931 he helped finance the first explorations for oil in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Items from the estate include a marble sculpture of a mother and daughter by Karl Theodore Francis Bitter (American/European, 1867-1915), estimated at $8,000/12,000, two portraits by Feodor Zakharov (Russian/American, 1882-1967), estimated at $3,000/5,000, and a collection of Middle Eastern textiles and Oriental rugs. One rug, an 11’ x 16’ Boukara, is believed to be a mate to a rug ordered for the White House. It is estimated at $10,000/15,000.

The sale includes a total of 71 Oriental rugs, ranging in estimate from $120/180 for a scatter-size Boukara to $7,000/10,000 for a circa 1900 room-size Heriz. The majority of the carpets come to auction from private estates and collections.

Other sale highlights include a pair of Chinese Export paintings depicting figural landscapes, estimated at $12,000/18,000, a drypoint etching “Alarmed” by Carl Rungius, estimated at $2,500/3,500, and a Simon Willard tall-case clock, estimated at $15,000/25,000.

All lots in the Americana and Paintings Auction can be viewed on Eldred’s website, www.eldreds.com. This is a live auction and both sessions are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. Phone and absentee bidding is available with pre-registration. Online bidding is available through Invaluable.com. The sale preview will be held Thursday, April 5, from 10 to 5 p.m. at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis. Catalogs may be purchased by calling 508-385-3116.

About Eldred’s

The Robert C. Eldred Co. is New England's oldest established antiques and fine arts auction house, now in its third generation of ownership under the Eldred and Schofield families. In addition to its headquarters on Cape Cod’s historic Old King’s Highway in East Dennis, Mass., the firm also has an office at 5 Roosevelt Avenue in Mystic, Ct. Eldred’s conducts approximately 25 auctions per year encompassing Americana, paintings, Asian art, European decorative art, maritime antiques, sporting art and collectibles. It was recently named one of the top worldwide auction houses by Art + Auction and holds auction records across a wide range of collecting areas.  


For more information please call (508) 385-3116 or email info@eldreds.com. 

1483 Route 6a
East Dennis, Massachusetts
About Eldred's

Eldred's is New England's oldest established antiques and fine arts auction house. Approximately 25 auctions are held year-round encompassing Americana, Asian Art, Americana and European paintings, European decorative art, Maritime antiques, and collectibles.

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