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THOMASTON, Maine – N.C. Wyeth’s monumental oil on canvas painting, ‘The Great Blue Heron’, flew to the top of the results column by surpassing its $100,000 to $125,000 presale estimate and selling for $253,000 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ Aug. 25-26, 2012 sale.
Paintings created on Monhegan Island were also a key feature of this sale, and many examples delivered sale prices significantly over presale estimates, including ‘Happy Lobstering Ground’ by Andrew George Winter (NY/ME- 1893-1958) that sold for $54,050, and two other Winter works; ‘Monhegan Winter Fleet’, that brought $32,200, and ‘Hauling in the Traps’, that fetched $21,850. Other Monhegan pieces that generated strong interest were ‘The Harbor at Monhegan’ by William Trost Richards (PA/RI, 1833-1905) that achieved $17,250; ‘Sunny Day, Monhegan Beach’, a 1920s work by Mary Stuard Townsend Mason (ME/PA, 1886-1964) that sold for $9,200; and ‘Cliff Study – Granite Rocks of Maine’ or ‘Monhegan’, by Aaron Draper Shattuck (CT/NH, 1832-1928) that brought $9,200.
“It’s wonderful to see such strong interest across so many categories – that’s great news for our industry,” said Thomaston Place Owner and Auctioneer Kaja Veilleux. “I was also very excited by the high number of in-house and remote participants – over 200 on the floor, and more than 1,100 registered phone, absentee, and internet bidders in 31 countries.”
Modern art also attracted strong interest. ‘Femme Assise au Chignon’, a signed and numbered linocut print by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), sold for $29,900; ‘Kakemono’ a gouache work by Alexander Calder (CT/NY/France, 1898-1976) achieved $29,900; a signed and number colored lithograph, ‘Captain Bryaxis’s Dream’ by Marc Chagall (NY/France, 1887-1985) brought $18,400; and a serigraph, ‘Les Bijoux Indiscrets’ by Rene Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967), reached $10,925.
A magnificent early 19th Century carved wooden ship figurehead in the form of the Federal Eagle that was found in a Bath, Maine barn sold for $40,250 after spirited bidding from the floor and phones. Several other fine examples of wood artistry also appealed to bidders, including: a burl maple double handle bowl with leaf and scroll carving that brought $12,650; a painted pine Bellamy eagle that reached $8,625; and a group of 6 Eider duck decoys by a variety of makers that achieved $3,162.50.
There was aggressive bidding for several lots of imperial Russian objects. A set of 6 19th Century clear glass goblets by the Imperial Glass Works of St. Petersburg sold for $21,850, and 12 porcelain dinner plates from the Alexandrinsky Service that were commissioned in 1899 by Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for the Winter Palace brought $17,250. A circa 1800 Russian pastille box in Tula metal with gold and bronze appliqués sailed past its $2,500 to $3,500 presale estimate and reached $10,350.
Three fine pieces of medieval art also exceeded expectations at the sale. A limestone statue of a standing female saint with remnants of its original polychrome paint, most likely of French origin, brought $23,000; a 16th – 17th Century Flemish oil on copper painting depicting the Madonna and Child in a mystic landscape sold for $10,350; and a Gothic 15th Century carved gilt wood cupboard door with an oil painting of ‘Ecce Homo’, Christ before the Cross, achieved $8,050.
Bidder interest in the diverse selection of Chinese antiques was robust. A circa 1750 Chinese Export gilt silver lidded box, identical in form to seven examples now in the Hermitage, sold for $10,925, and a matched pair of 19th Century blue and white porcelain octagonal garden seats brought $8,625. Other high flying Chinese lots included: a reticulated celadon jade offering bowl with Qianlong mark (1736-1795) that reached $8,050; a two-piece late 19th c belt buckle in two-tone jadeite that made $8,050; an late Ming Period (1500-1700 AD) standing hardwood figure of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva that achieved $6,900; a Ming Dynasty temple offering table with exaggerated scrolled legs that sold for $5,290; and a Qi Ba Shi Ink Scroll study of a rake that brought $5,175.
High performing furniture lots included: a pair of 1930s vintage Ifugao carved teak chairs in the form of a seated man in loincloth resting his arms on his knees and the heads of smaller figures that sold for $21,850; a circa 1765-1785 Boston Chippendale Cuban Mahogany Block Front Kneehole Bureau that brought $16,100; a pair of circa 1950 Mies van deer Rohe’s ‘Barcelona’ Modernist chairs made by Knoll of New York in tan leather and chromed steel that raised $6,900; and a custom artisan table made from a single tree section of burled maple that achieved $5,290.
Many jewelry lots also generated strong bidder response, with a ladies 8 carat emerald and diamond ring bringing $34,500; an 18K gold link chain necklace with natural emerald free form polished beads and 72 pave set diamond links selling for $32,200; and a custom made 18K gold carved jade necklace by David Webb reaching $20,700.
A complete list of auction results can be found at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.