• EAST DENNIS, Massachusetts
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  • October 18, 2021

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The anticipated top lot in the auction, with an estimate of $20,000/30,000, is a 14” x 11” oil on canvas by Fidelia Bridges (American, 1834-1923). She studied under William Trost Richards, who became a friend and promoted her work to his patrons.

East Dennis, Mass.Eldred’s will hold its first annual Women in the Arts auction, featuring listed American women artists, from 19th Century examples to important contemporary works, on Thursday, October 28. The auction will take place at 4 p.m. at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis, Mass., on Cape Cod, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to WE CAN, a women’s empowerment organization based on the Cape.

“The goal of the auction is to re-discover 19th and early 20th century female artists the market may be overlooking, and to provide a new sales channel for established contemporary female artists looking to expand their reach,” said Joshua Eldred, president of the firm.

The anticipated top lot, estimated at $20,000/30,000, is a serene view of birds in a marsh landscape by Fidelia Bridges (American, 1834-1923). It is a characteristic work of the artist’s, with a close focus and realistic details. Other 19th and early 20th century examples include an interior scene with two women by Eda Elisabeth Sterchi (American, 1885-1969), estimated at $7,000/10,000, “The Mountain, Bearsville, New York, 1947” by Georgina Klitgaard (American, 1893-1976), estimated at $6,000/8,000, a pencil drawing “Louise, in a Fluffy Bonnet and a Coat, held by Reine” by Mary Cassatt (American/French, 1844-1926), estimated at $4,000/6,000, and a landscape with swans by Olive Parker Black (American, 1868-1948), estimated at $4,000/6,000.

The sale includes just over 260 lots, with works by contemporary artists Molly Dee, Elaine Coffee, Pamela Pindell and Katherine Ann Hartley also included, and several lots from Provincetown and Cape Cod-based artists, notably Anne Packard, Elizabeth Mumford and Martha Cahoon. In addition to paintings, the auction also includes jewelry and handcrafts by women artisans.

“When I was a young boy, every artist I knew was a woman -- from my mother who drew for me, to my elementary school art teachers, to the neighbor who sold her paintings at local shows,” Eldred said. “When I envisioned an ‘artist’, I envisioned a woman. The sad reality, however, is that women are hugely underrepresented in the art world.” Tellingly, Eldred said it was more challenging than anticipated for his appraisal staff to find paintings by women artists, especially 19th Century examples, though he is proud of what the firm has unearthed.


Women make up about half of working artists nationwide, but their work makes up only 10 percent of museum and corporate collections and 30 percent of gallery shows, and a $400 million disparity exists between the auction record for a work by a male artist over a female artist.

“The imbalance of representation and sale price exists from the major metropolitan auction houses down to the regional auction rooms,” Eldred said. “While we know we won’t fix this overnight, we hope our Women in the Arts Auction starts us down a better path.”

Portrait of a mother and child by Pauline Palmer, a fixture in the Chicago art scene in the early part of the 20th century, has a $3,000/5,000 pre-sale estimate. Palmer began summering on Cape Cod around 1915 and studied under Charles Webster Hawthorne in Provincetown.

Eldred’s charitable partner for the auction is WE CAN, a 20-year-old organization based in Harwich, Mass., that serves more than 2,500 local women annually with free and confidential legal services, employment and business support, and financial empowerment and personal development programs.

“There has been great enthusiasm for the sale from the time we announced it, from within our community and client base to the greater art market,” Eldred said. “We think this is just the beginning of what will become an annual auction for us.”

The Women in the Arts auction is a live auction with in-person, online absentee and phone bidding available. A sale preview will be held Wednesday, October 27, on the sale day, and by appointment. Interested bidders are advised to visit www.eldreds.com or call 508-385-3116 to confirm the exhibition schedule and bidding options. A complete catalog is available online or by mail.

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 within the Eldred family. 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, the nation’s leading marine art auction house, conducts approximately 25 auctions per year encompassing Americana, paintings, Asian art, European decorative art, sporting art and collectibles in addition to marine art. 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.

Cheryl Stewart
508-385-3116 x128

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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