A number of exceptional American paintings will cross the block on February 12 in Charleston, South Carolina, highlighting Copley Fine Art Auctions’ Winter Sale. These works span a broad spectrum of styles and subject matter, from Carl Rungius’ commanding “Bull Moose” to Andrew Wyeth’s meditative “Pot Buoys.” The paintings will join with 480 lots to form a significant offering of fine American art, antique and contemporary decoys, folk, and sporting art.
Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius (1869-1959) was born in Germany and came to the United States for the first time in 1894 to hunt moose with an uncle. By 1897, the artist settled permanently in the States. This commanding painting hung in a prominent residence at the Adirondack League Club on Moose Lake and Moose River near Old Forge, New York.
"Bull Moose" (Estimate: $150/250,000) is related to “Hunting the Canada Moose,” which can be found in the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the major repository for Rungius’s works and the contents of his Banff studio. The Glenbow notes, “In later work, Rungius didn't include the hunter in his images, allowing for a more direct encounter with the animal.” This is apparent in "Bull Moose," where the subject gazes directly at the viewer. The realistic coloring and shadowing of the moose’s rack across his body emphasize the imposing size of the animal.
Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917-2009) is one of America’s best-known and most-loved artists. This 1954 watercolor titled “Pot Buoys” (Estimate: $70/80,000) is a study for a larger tempera painting, done in the same year, titled “Tomorrow The Outer Shoals.” A catalog entry from a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts exhibit that included the tempera painting states, “These white, newly painted lobster buoys hanging in the darkness, like ghosts in a dark room, make an interesting composition...these too belong to Wyeth’s own life and form part of his inner experience. Painted in Sherwood Cook’s fishhouse, Martinsville, Maine.” The careful observation and technical virtuosity on display in “Pot Buoys” make this work a classic Maine scene by one of America’s best-known artists.
Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910) achieved success over the course of his American career and was known for the technique, charm, and precision he brought to each of his canvases. This oil painting, titled "Little Girl in White Dress with Parrot" and dated 1886, presents a clever scene, in which a surprised young girl appears interrupted in the middle of an opulent setting. An exotic African grey parrot perches on the back of a chair, holding a shuttlecock, and a “battledore” or badminton racquet lies on the floor (Estimate: $40/60,000).
Guy depicts the colors of the oriental carpet, with its texture and decorative lines flattened for perspective, and shows the tassels flipped over giving the sense of an interrupted, active scene. The cherubic young girl dressed in white leads the viewer to wonder what event has taken place. Not just a charming genre scene, this painting is also a symbol of status, luxury, and nineteenth century opulence by a classic American artist.
Also on offer will be an oil painting by Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925) titled "Dory and Lobster Traps" and painted in 1881 (Estimate: $80/120,000). Metcalf is one of the most important American Impressionists, and in 1882, the artist had his first solo exhibition. He displayed seventy-six paintings at the gallery of J. Eastman Chase in Boston. Robust sales from the show and his illustrations helped fund his further study in Europe, which included time at the Académie Julian in Paris. It is likely that this painting was part of the exhibition, which included, "studies and finished pictures of New England subjects from Manchester, Plymouth, and Longwood, Massachusetts, along with Vermont, and Vinalhaven, Maine."
"Dory and Lobster Traps" demonstrates the artist’s sensitivity to light and landscape which would allow him to flourish as an impressionist. He became known for his studies on shore and the sea, and particularly his accuracy in depicting specific places.
Jack Lorimer Gray (1927-1981) was one of America’s premier marine artists. Born in 1927 in Halifax, Gray was drawn to art early in life and grew up sketching the local boats. He studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, but was consistently pulled to the sea. He worked on fishing fleets during his summers, and frequently lived on boats until he moved to New York in the mid-1950s. In New York, Gray found representation at the Kennedy Galleries. “In the Southern Ocean” (Estimate: $30/40,000) is among Gray’s best, classic large-scale maritime scenes. Painted from the perspective of being on the deck looking aft, the artist shows three sailors on deck boldly navigating the expansive seas of the Southern Ocean. The thick impasto of the waves and the detailed ropes of the rigging mark Gray as a modern master.
Online bidding on over 480 items will be available through bidsquare.com, and absentee and telephone bidding will be offered. A full color catalog will be available three weeks before the sale. The auction will take place at the American Theater in Charleston, SC, with a preview on Friday, February 12th from 8:30 to 10:30 AM, with bidding to commence at 11 AM. For more information, a full schedule of events, or to order a catalog please send an email to email@example.com, call 617.536.0030, or visit www.copleyart.com.
214 Lincoln Street #104
About Copley Fine Art Auctions
Copley Fine Art Auctions is the world's leading American sporting art auction company. Located in Boston, Copley specializes in antique decoys and 19th- and 20th-century American, sporting, and wildlife paintings.