WOODBURY, Conn. — A rare gilded bronze sculpture by noted American sculptor Paul Manship
(American, 1885-1966) was the top selling lot at Schwenke Auctioneers Fall Fine Estates Auction held Sunday, October 4th.
The bronze was cast by Manship in 1925, and had been acquired directly from the sculptor and was being sold to benefit a charitable foundation established by the executors of the owner’s estate. After several minutes of spirited competition among three phone bidders, the lot was finally knocked down by Auctioneer Tom Schwenke for $213,500 to the successful phone bidder. The pre-sale estimate set by the firm was $100,000 to $200,000. The work, entitled “Flight of Europa”, measured 20 3/8” high, 31 ¼” long, and 8 ½” deep, had parcel-gilt patina, was mounted on a 1 3/8″ high onyx base, and was signed “P. Manship” and inscribed ‘A. Kunst FDY NYC”.
American furniture performed well in the sale, with a New England queen anne walnut wing chair holding title as the top furniture lot. The chair, upholstered in crewel work, with block and turned stretchers and cabriole front legs ending in pad feet, measured 47 1/4″ high, 44 1/2″ wide, and 20″ deep. Consigned by a Connecticut estate, the chair had descended in the family which has a Boston history. After opening up the crewelwork upholstery for bidders wishing a closer look at the chair, auctioneer Tom Schwenke announced that the secondary woods suggested a Newport, Rhode Island origin. The successful bidder, a collector from New Jersey, won out on the phone at $8400, besting three other phone bidders and several internet competitors.
The sale included many fine decorative lots. A pair of crystal gilt bronze candlesticks on triangular bases, mounted as lamps and measuring 29 1/2″ high, 6 1/2″ wide, surprised at $1,464 to an internet bidder, against a $300-400 pre-sale estimate. A pair of large copper, brass and metal exterior lantern sconces with acorn finials, 32″ high by 17″ wide, carrying provenance from a circa 1902 Bedford, New York mansion owned by Florence J. Harriman, socialite, suffragist and diplomat, sold for $1,625, estimated at $500-600.
Mid-century modern furniture was also included in the sale. One of the top lots was a pair of Finn Juhl or Jens Risom designer sofas, settee form with turned and canted wooden legs, and possibly designed in the 1950’s by Finn Juhl for France & Daverkosen of Denmark, measuring 32″ high, 78″ wide, and 29″ deep. The sofas, carrying provenance of a New York private collection, were claimed at $3,125 by an internet bidder from the Midwest. Also selling well was a Silas Seandel large cast stone and bronze coffee table, mounted on a square bronze clad pedestal, and signed and dated “1982”. The table, measuring 15 1/2″ high, 25 3/4″ wide, and 17″ deep, fetched $3750 from an internet registrant.
One surprise in the sale was a modernist painted steel sculpture by David Hayes (American, 1931-2013). The abstract welded steel piece was painted multiple colors and was signed and dated “D. Hayes 1979”. Measuring 18″ high and 14 1/2″ wide, the artwork hammered at $5625 to a Florida dealer bidding on the internet.
Top fine art lot was a William Ruthven Wheeler (Am. 1832-1894), “New England Seascape”, oil on canvas, signed, dated lower left WRW, ’81, with gallery label verso: “From T.F. Burke’s Art Gallery, 167 Asylum St., Hartford CT”. Sight size was 9 3/8″ high, 15 1/2″ wide, and frame size of 18″ high, 24″ wide. William Ruthven Wheeler was born in Scio, Washington County, MI in 1832. He was primarily a portrait painter, but he did produce some landscapes. His first instruction came at an early age from an itinerant miniature painter, and he began his profession at the age of fifteen. At the age of twenty-eight he studied for a short time in Detroit under Alvan Bradish. He moved to Hartford, Connecticut about 1862 and kept a studio there until 1893. A painting of Mount Washington was listed in the first annual exhibition of the Hartford Art Association in 1872, but he had added landscapes to his repertoire as early as 1866. The painting was claimed by a phone bidder for $6,000, estimated $1000-1500.
Selling for $6,000 to a phone bidder was a George Benjamin Luks (American, 1866-1933), “Gramercy Park, New York City” 1932 oil on canvas, signed lower right “George Luks”, accompanied by an authentication letter from Mercedes Luks, the artist’s wife. With sight size of 19 1/4″ high, 15 1/4″ wide, the painting carried provenance of a private collection, North Carolina, when sold previously at Rago Arts and Auction Center, lot 56 May 15, 2009; private collection Westchester County NY.
The sale included a work by Balcomb (John Wesley) Greene (Am. 1904-1990) oil on canvas of boats at harbor, titled verso “Water & Sunlight”. Size overall was 45 1/2″ high, 55″ wide, and the work was claimed by an internet bidder at $3,125. Pre-sale estimate had been set at $2,000-2,500.
Portraits and other fine art also fared well, with a China Trade American ship portrait, circa 1870, oil on canvas, unsigned, frame size 22 1/4″ high by 28″ wide, being claimed by an absentee ,This sale also featured many estate oriental carpets including Persian and Caucasian room and scatter sized rugs, and other regional Asian rugs of varying sizes. Top rug lot of the sale was a fine Persian room size carpet, 12′ 2″ long, 9′ 7″ wide, which sold to a West Coast internet bidder at $1,200.
Woodbury Auction’s next auction is scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd at 11:00 am. Absentee and phone bidding will be available for this live gallery auction, and the sale will be broadcast live on the internet through multiple platforms. For more information visit www.woodburyauction.com or call 203-266-0323.