NEW YORK — William Bradford’s maritime composition, “The Goelet Prize for sloop yachts with Gracie in the lead,” was the top lot at Bonhams’ June 5 Fine Maritime Paintings & Decorative Arts auction, selling for $68,500. Depicting the 1883 event that took place in Newport, Rhode Island, the Goelet Cup was an annual race held by the New York Yacht Club and sponsored by Ogden Goelet. This particular year was the first time
International code flags were used to signal the course for the race, giving an option for three different courses.
American painters realized the highest prices in the auction. In addition to Bradford, two James Buttersworth works saw strong results. The artist’s “An American ship being towed out with other shipping,” achieved $62,500, while his colorful “Shipping in Palermo off the Mediterranean,” realized $52,500.
British artists also performed well. Montague Dawson’s tranquil dusk scene “Eventide” sold for $50,000. “The SS City of Berlin outward bound passing Cape Pine Lighthouse,” by another British artist, Samuel Walters, realized $31,250.
A Thomas Jacques Somerscales work titled “The SS Ortega entering the straits of Nelson with the SMS Dresden in Pursuit,” believed to have been lost in the 1940 bombing of Liverpool, more than doubled its presale low estimate, selling for $27,500.
The auction’s most surprising result was for a set of Japanese World War II recognition models of British war ships that sold for $31,250 — more than five times their low estimate. Used as a training tool for Japanese soldiers during the war, the carefully carved wooden models came complete with superstructures, armaments and masts.
Bonhams’ next auction of Maritime Paintings & Decorative Arts will take place in New York in January 2014.
For more information on Bonhams’ auctions, contact 323-850-7500 (Los Angeles), 212-644-9001 (New York) or visit www.bonhams.com.