THOMASTON, Maine — Perfect weather rarely produces a packed auction house, but it was standing room only at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries August 27-29 as the firm ended Maine antique week with a bang by selling an inventory of art, specifically marine paintings, and decorative items that generated close to $4,000,000. All quoted prices include 17 percent buyer’s premium.
“Sunrise,” a highly detailed luminist painting by Albert Bierstadt (NY/CA/MA, 1830-1902) inspired enthusiastic bidding up to a selling price of $386,100. A large seascape work, “Near Cape Elizabeth, Portland, Maine,” by Alfred Thompson Bricher (NY/NH, 1837-1908) brought $175,500; and frenzied competition for “On the Hudson Near Tappan Zee” by New York artist Francis Augustus Silva (1835-1886) propelled it past its $40,000-$60,000 estimate, ending at $163,800.
Marine Paintings on the Main Stage
Also contributing to marine paintings run was William Trost Richards’ (PA/RI, 1833-1905) 1885 “Conanicut Island, Rhode Island” created saleroom excitement when it hammered for
$117,000 against a $50,000-$70,000 estimate; and “The Start of the 1866 Great Transatlantic Yacht Race” by James Edward Buttersworth (NJ/NY/UK, 1817-1894) was another a six-figure performer with a $117,000 selling price.
Marine paintings by other major artists also performed well in the sale. Jack Lorimer Gray’s (NY/Canada, 1927-1981) work, “Tacking Starboard in a Storm,” brought $37,440 versus its estimate of $10,000-$15,000; and Percy Sanborn’s marine portrait of the Ship “P.R. Hazeltine” sold for $17,550 against an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.
Among the many fine art that were not marine paintings, Aldro Thompson Hibbard’s (MA/VT, 1886-1972) “Village Road in Vermont” achieved $18,000, and a pastel depicting a Balinese temple offering by Adrien Le Mayeur de Merpres (Belgium/Indonesia, 1880-1958) brought $17,550.
Fire Pumper and Ship Model Stand Tall
An 1832 New York gooseneck tub fire pumper engine, the “Lady Washington,” by James Smith for Engine Company No. 40 of Manhattan sold for $70,200, and a monumental English-made ship model on stand depicting the Great RMS “Mauretania” built for the Cunard Steamship Co. Ltd. fetched $52,650.
There was applause from the floor when aggressive bidding raised $47,970 for a jeweler’s
astronomical wall regulator by E. Howard & Co. against a $5,000-$7,000 estimate.
From the folk art selection, an outstanding 19th century carved cigar store Indian attributed to Samuel Robb of New York brought $39,780, and a 19th century full body gilt copper and zinc weathervane in the form of a bull reached $16,380.
Sparkle and Shine of Jewelry
Several jewelry items caught the attention of bidders at the sale: an 18K gold, enamel, diamond and ruby snake form bracelet reached $15,210; a circa 1875 caduceus form gold and ivory hairpin by Italian maker Castellani sold for $17,550; and an Art Deco platinum, Burmese star sapphire and diamond ring brought $14,625.
A variety of decorative arts items performed well above expectations, including: a pair of Japanese woodblock prints by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) that sold for $15,210; a bronze garden statue of dolphins leaping from waves that brought $8,482, and an Italian round neo-classical micro-mosaic depicting a lion attacking a ram that fetched $8,190. A group of Tiffany & Co. sterling silver serving pieces that descended in the family of New York banker Henry H. Cook all generated strong interest and sold well above estimates.
Finally, a collection of contemporary Maine and New England artwork was presented on the third sale day. Most pieces sold at respectable prices and helped establish auction sales histories for these artists.
A complete list of auction results can be found at www.thomastonauction.com. The next Thomaston Place Auction Galleries fine art and antique feature auction takes place Nov. 12-13, 2016.
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