Skip to main content

American fine art resonates with bidders in summer auction

Prices realized during James D. Julia's annual August sale verifies that American fine art continues to resonate with bidders.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — James D. Julia’s annual August sale featured nearly 1,900 lots of fine and decorative arts, antiques, folk art, Asian articles, and historical artifacts. After the final hammer fell, 68 lots realized $10,000 or more, an additional 25 lots realized $25,000, three lots broke the six-figure mark, and total gross sales topped $5 million. Prices realized during the sale verify that American fine art continues to resonate with bidders.

american fine art edward willis redfield

Edward Willis Redfield "River Decorations" $148,125. Photo courtesy James D. Julia Auctioneers

Top lots included Edward Willis Redfield’s “River Decorations,” which realized $148,125; a pair of porcelain plaques by Wang Dafan that commanded $118,500 (more than six times the low estimate); and Fitz Henry Lane’s painting of New Bedford Harbor, which finished at $296,250.

Day one saw more than 600 lots of paintings and fine art selections, many featuring Maine artists and themes, come before bidders. Two works by Andrew Wyeth caught the attention of several buyers. Wyeth’s “River Greys” realized $66,953, and “By The Lower Dam” realized $79,988, nearly four times its low estimate.

Plus, Abbott Fuller Graves’ “A Hot Shoe” was another standout, standing tall at $41,475.

Julia’s is known as a leader with Rockport School paintings; during this sale, three Emile Albert Gruppe works were the stars in this category. They included “Gloucester Sunlit Cove-Rocky Neck,” which sold for $22,515; “Mending the Nets” commanded $20,145; and “Morning Gloucester,” which rose to $20,738.

This sale also featured a selection of paintings from the Pennsylvania New Hope as well as the Hudson River Valley schools. These included Kenneth Nunamaker’s “Plum Blossoms” ($23,700), and William Trost Richards’ “Crashing Waves” ($24,885).

american fine art howard terpning painting

Howard A. Terpning "Spring Came Early" $94,800

Other American fine art works celebrating the great outdoors included Howard A. Terpning’s “Spring Came Early,” realizing $94,800 and Frederic Remington’s “Trail Riders,” which soared to $23,108.

The second day also saw American and European antiques, furniture, historical items, and nautical paintings. Robert Salmon’s “Outward Bound, Long Island Head, Boston Harbor” was a headliner, changing hands for $82,950.

Three of James Buttersworth’s works were standouts. These included “A Three Decker Off Dover Castle With Shakespeare Cliff In The Distance,” “Dover Passage,” and “Yachting In New York Harbor”; they realized $37,920, $47,400, and $41,475, respectively.

This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine – one of America's longest-running periodicals serving the antiques trade. Learn more about Antique Trader magazine.
Subscribe to Antique Trader magazine for just $26 per year for print, or $20 per year for digital.
Get subscription details at


Functional and decorative antiques

cigar store indian

Tobacconist Figure Of Indian Maiden Attributed To Samuel Robb $94,800

Wooden decorative and functional items hammered their way to the top of this event as well. A Federal inlaid mahogany tall case clock by Aaron Willard went to a new owner for $29,625.

A fine and important tobacconist figure of an Indian maiden — attributed to Samuel Robb — more than doubled its low estimate to finish at $94,800; while 16 silhouette carved wood and painted shorebird decoys splintered their $1,000 to $1,500 auction estimate, selling for $90,060.

Folk art and weathervanes were other important categories represented on the second day of the sale. A large and rarely seen cast-iron Rochester horse weathervane galloped away for $20,145.

Meanwhile, a folk art portrait of a young boy, attributed to the mid-19th century Prior/Hamblin School, went to the head of the class at $21,330 — more than four times its low estimate.

Asian decorative arts

The final day of Julia’s annual summer auction saw an array of contemporary decorative arts and unusual offerings, including more than 250 lots of art from Japan and China.

Chinese Zitan Carved Canopy Bed

Chinese Zitan Carved Canopy Bed $33,180

Particularly eye catching highlights include two bronzes: a sculpture By Li Chen that realized $38,513, and a statue of a seated figure that sold for $15,998.

A Ming Dynasty-era cloisonné basin, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000, realized $26,663, while a Qing Dynasty-era green jade bowl, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000, realized $31,995.

The sale’s selection of Asian furniture also struck a chord with bidders. A Chinese Zitan carved canopy bed realized $33,180, and a Zitan recessed trestle-leg altar table sold for $10,665. Finally, a set of nine rosewood mother-of-pearl inset chairs and tables proved itself a real jewel in this sale, changing hands for $16,590.

Upcoming auctions at James D. Julia, Inc. include an Extraordinary October 2016 Firearms Auction, Oct. 4-7, and a Lamp, Glass & Fine Jewelry auction slated for November, date to be determined.

For more information, visit, email, or call 800-565-9298.

More antique and fine art auction highlights

For nearly 800 pages worth of antiques and collectibles identification and value information, order your copy of the brand new Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2017.
The 33rd edition of this go-to guide for collectors of all interests contains identifying details, quality color photographs, and current market values for nearly 5,000 of the most commonly sought-after antiques and collectibles.
On sale now directly from the publisher at

Antique Trader 2017

Weekly Showcase



Over 100 YEARS of Chinese History - Our pristine Jade Collection is extensive and beautiful!  Please visit our web site to get an idea of how beautiful this collection is.