MALVERN, Pa. – An important oil on canvas portrait painting by the noted German artist Georg Papperitz (1846-1918), from the estate of John E. DuPont – the eccentric multi-millionaire who was depicted by actor Steve Carell in the hit movie Foxcatcher – will be sold at a two-session public and online auction planned for Saturday, Feb. 28th, by Gordon S. Converse & Company.
The portrait, offered in the second session of the auction, depicts John DuPont's uncle, William L. Austin, Jr. It was inherited by John from his mother's estate upon her passing and was sold by John to the consignor several years ago, after his sentencing for life in prison for murder.
William L. Austin, Jr., was the son of railroad tycoon William L. Austin, who presented his son and newlywed wife with the the land and Monticello-style mansion known as Foxcatcher Farm, in Newtown Square, Pa. It is there that the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between John DuPont and the 1984 Olympic Gold medal wrestlers Mark and David Schultz was forged.
The artist, Georg (Fritz) Papperitz, is a well-listed German Beaux Arts-era portrait painter. He may have painted the portrait from life between about 1900 and 1910. The life-size work, 86 inches by 57 inches, in the original hand-made Art Deco frame, was in storage since the 1930s to the 1980s, when it was removed to Foxcatcher Farm.
“While there may be issues of surface dirt, the essential stability and condition of the paint and frame are excellent,” said Gordon Converse of Gordon S. Converse & Company, based in Wayne, Pa. He added, “Estimating its value is tricky because of the unusual provenance and nature of this painting, but we decided on a conservative $1,500-$2,000.”
The auction will be held in the firm’s gallery, located at 57 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern. The first session, starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time, will feature more than 250 lots of Asian antiques, including fine jade, over 30 lots of furniture, fine porcelains and numerous smaller lots, many of them jewelry-related. The second session, immediately following, will have Western art and antiques.
Gordon S. Converse & Company built its reputation, in part, on auctions dedicated to rare and vintage clocks, and this sale has several, to include a tall case clock signed Simon Willard (est. $2,000-$6,000); an E. Howard & Co. #60 regulator (est. $5,000-$10,000); a Dutch tall clock with automation (est. $7,000-$10,000); and an important Baroque style clock signed A. Metzi.
Also sold will be about two dozen lots of sterling (including two tea sets), jewelry, vintage and antique furniture, collectible stamps and coins and ethnic arts, to include an African headpiece with original polychrome paint (est. $200-$400); a carved wood Mumye figure from Nigeria, 41 inches tall (est. $150-$400); and an 18th or 19th century gilt bronze Buddha figure, one of several Buddhas to be sold.
Artists whose works will be sold that day include the Russian-born French artist Marc Chagall (born Moishe Shagal, 1887-1985), a shrewd observer of the contemporary art scene best known for his abstract village peasant-theme paintings and public art; and William L. Lathrop (Am., 1859-1938), one of America’s premier landscape painters of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Other artists will include Bernard Buffet (Fr., 1928-1999), highly regarded for his abstract figural paintings, engravings and printmaking; Jacques (Gaston Duchamp) Villon (Fr., 1875-1963), a painter and printmaker best known for his Cubist-style works; the Australian landscape artist Charles Rolando (1844-1893) and 20th century American Surrealist landscape artist Parks Reece.
For those unable to attend the auction in person, internet bidding will be facilitated through LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and (for the first time) the Gordon S. Converse & Company website (www.AuctionsatConverse.com). Phone and absentee bids will also be taken. Previews will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, February 25th and 26th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Gordon S. Converse & Company is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, you may call them directly, at (610) 722-9004; or, you can send an e-mail to Todd Converse, at Todd@ConverseClocks.com, or Gordon Converse, at Gordon@ConverseClocks.com. All e-mailed inquiries receive serious and prompt attention.
Gordon S. Converse & Company now features “Free Appraisal Tuesdays.” Bring your item or items into the gallery in Malvern between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Gordon Converse (an appraiser on the hit PBS series Antiques Roadshow) will be there to give his expert opinion. Bring in the item or items, or a good set of photos, but please, no jewelry items, stamps or coins.
To learn more about Gordon S. Converse & Co., and the upcoming Feb. 28th auction, please, visit www.AuctionsatConverse.com.
758 Mancill Road