Fritz Bultman’s ‘Cape May II’ sails to $23,750

CRANSTON, R.I. – Abstract expressionist paintings by American artist Fritz Bultman (1919-1985) dominated the list of top lots at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ Summer Antiques & Fine Art Auction held June 3, online and in the firm’s Cranston, Rhode Island, gallery. Online bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com, eBay and Auctionzip.com, the Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ app available on GooglePlay and the Apple Store, as well as at bidlive.bruneauandco.com.

Fine Art Offerings Dominated by Fritz Bultman

Bultman oil painting

Oil painting by the American abstract expressionist Fritz Bultman (1919-1985), titled Cape May II, one of five paintings by Bultman in the auction, $23,750.
(All photos courtesy Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers)

There were five works by Bultman up for bid. All are part of a larger collection owned by Ruth Latta of Provincetown, Massachusetts. The sale’s two top lots are both large collages of painted papers by Bultman, one titled Cape May II ($23,750).The other Insectual rose to $22,500. A third work, an untitled oil on canvas by Bultman, an acquisition from the artist directly dating to 1960, hit $8,750.

That the Bultman paintings did so well came as no real surprise. As a painter, sculptor and collagist, and a member of the esteemed New York School of artists, Fritz Bultman is an artist whose creations are highly sought after by collectors. Born in New Orleans, his spent years honing his craft in New York City, becoming one of the era’s pre-eminent abstract expressionists.

The auction grossed a little more than $222,000, including the buyer’s premium. “Prices were strong on the quality, high-end items,” said Kevin Bruneau, Bruneau & Co.’s president and auctioneer.” He added, “Prices were also fair throughout the middle of the road.” Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the 25 percent buyer’s premium.

Vases by Vierthaler Attract Bidder Interest

Copper vase by Vierthaler

Hand-wrought copper vase by Ludwig Vierthaler (German, 1875-1967) for J. Winhart & Company, commanded $5,938.

A Ludwig Vierthaler (German, 1875-1967) for Winhart & Co. (Munich, Germany) Art Nouveau hand-wrought copper vase gaveled for $5,938. It was one of two Ludwig Vierthaler vases in the sale. It is decorated with a gorgeous and naturalistic repousse cicada with inset opal. The wings of the cicada beautifully enveloped the 7 1/4-inch tall vase with hammered dimple accents.
Exhibiting only minor wear, a fine scrimshaw model of a schooner sailboat by Chester Gotauco (Dartmouth, Mass.), 30 1/2 inches long and 30 inches tall, masterfully crafted with intricate detail, knocked down for $3,438. The boat possessed superb intricacies including adjustable masts, cannons, interior components of the vessel and a life boat strung on the stern.

An Art Nouveau figural bowl by the French-Russian-American artist known as “Erte” (Romain de Tirtoff, 1892-1990), titled Ocean II, coasted to $2,250. The bowl was an abstracted sailing vessel with a front figurehead of a nude woman. The interior of the bowl was signed “Erte. It was dated (“1987”), numbered (292 of 300), and had the Conker foundry mark. A pair of European Grand Tour Greco-Roman bronze bookends of athletes, each about 11 inches tall including the sienna marble plinth base, went for $1,875.

Folk Art Automation Still Available

Not sold in the auction was a folk art automaton of a steamboat side wheeler. Prospector William “Billy” Briggs of Bristol, Rhode Island is the mind behind it. Put forth following  return from the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada and completed around 1905. The masterfully constructed vessel, titled the Klondike, is 7 inches tall by 21 inches long. It possesses an estimate of $25,000-$35,000.

“Just goes to show how markets have changed in the last decade,” Mr. Landry said. “Ten years ago a fierce bidding war would have broken out for this wonderful piece of American history, but not today. I have no doubt it will command a nice high price sometime in the future – just not this sale. Fortunately, just about everything else in all categories met or exceeded expectations.”

More Information

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ next big sale is slated for July 22. Featured items will include around 25 pieces of fine jewelry and watches. In addition a 1986 Mustang SVO muscle car, and a 1948 Chevrolet stake body truck are up for bid. In addition, a 2002 Mercedes E320 will roll across the auction block..

To learn more about Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers and the upcoming July 22 auction, visit www.bruneauandco.com or email info@bruneauandco.com.

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