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Russian bronze may sell at Eldred's auction for $120K

An important Russian bronze may sell for as much as $120,000 during an Eldred's auction scheduled for April 5-6 in East Dennis, Mass.

EAST DENNIS, Mass. – Eldred’s Auctions will offer a truly diverse selection of fresh-to-market material in its Spring Sale, scheduled for April 5-6, 2019 at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Anticipated top lots are as far ranging as an important Russian bronze to rare bird carvings by A. Elmer Crowell, and from significant 19th Century New England paintings to a seminal mid-20th Century sculpture.

Important Lanceray Russian bronze.

Important Lanceray bronze. Images courtesy of Eldred's.

A dramatically modeled bronze of a cozy couple enjoying a pleasure ride in a winter troika by Evgenii Aleksandrovich Lanceray (France/Russia, 1848-1886), dated 1881, carries an $80,000/120,000 pre-sale estimate, the top lot in the sale.

The same casting can be seen in two publications, one dating 1886, and the piece measures 39” in length, the largest known size of this work, says Leah Kingman, head of Eldred’s Decorative Arts Department. “There’s only a few other known examples of this size,” she says. “The subject is quintessential for the artist, who is known for hunting, equestrian and troika themes. This piece has been in a private collection for decades.”

Also from a private collection is an extremely rare, nearly life-size carving of a snowy egret by A. Elmer Crowell (East Harwich, Massachusetts, 1862-1952). Carved circa 1930, the piece was purchased directly from Crowell by the consignor's father. It is one of seven decoy and bird carvings by Crowell included in the sale, ranging in estimate from $900/1,200 to $50,000/75,000. Other lots of Sporting Art, including fine art and collections of mounted fish carvings, is also included in the sale.

Silver hilted small sword

Silver hilted small sword

Crowell Egret.

Crowell Egret.

The sale also includes nearly 25 lots of collectible firearms and historic weapons, most notably the Lithgow Family Silver-Hilted Smallsword, made by noted Boston silversmith Andrew Tyler, circa 1730. The sword was carried by at least three members of the Lithgow family, from the French and Indian Wars through the Revolutionary War era.

One owner, William Lithgow, Jr. (1750-1796) was an honorable aide-de-camp to George Washington and was present at General Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga, a major turning point of the Revolutionary War. Lithgow’s likeness appears in John Trumbull’s famous painting of the event. The sword carries a $40,000/$60,000 pre-sale estimate.

Fine art lots

More than 200 paintings will be included in the sale, highlighted by “Fishing Village, Perkins Cove (Ogunquit, Maine)” by Charles Herbert Woodbury (Maine/Massachusetts, 1864-1940). The 24” x 30” oil on canvas has a Vose Galleries provenance and was exhibited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum in 1988. Woodbury graduated from M.I.T. with a mechanical engineering degree in the 1880s, but while he was a student he exhibited at, and was the youngest member of the Boston Art Club. Throughout his painting career he masterfully captured the New England and Canadian coastline and founded an incredibly successful summer art colony school in Ogunquit. The painting carries a $25,000/35,000 pre-sale estimate.

Other top paintings include a still life of peaches by Levi Wells Prentice (New York/Connecticut, 1851-1935), estimated at $12,000/15,000, the expansive “Picnic in Westchester County” by Hendrik-Dirk Kruseman Van Elten (New York, 1829-1904), estimated at $8,000/12,000, and a portrait of the four-masted schooner Goldfield by Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (New York/ New Jersey/Denmark, 1850-1921), estimated at $8,000/10,000. A view Il Molo, Venice, painted by Robert Salmon after he left Boston around 1842, has garnered significant early interest.

Robert Salmon painting

Robert Salmon painting

“It is interesting that Robert Salmon, after a long and successful career of painting in Britain and America, would travel to Italy at the end of his life,” said Gregg Dietrich, senior consultant at Eldred’s. “Under the influence of the Luminist movement, and with failing eyesight, he found the inspiration in the light of Italy to create several brilliantly colored canvases. Undoubtedly influenced by Canaletto, both in subject and style, this is one of the last works he painted in his life.” The painting is estimated at $10,000/$15,000.

Ruth Asawa wire art

Also featured in the sale is a freestanding woven enameled copper wire basket by Ruth Asawa (California/ North Carolina, 1926-2013), who is internationally recognized for these types of wire sculptures. This untitled piece was exhibited by Sillman and McNair Associates, New Haven, Connecticut, in the fall of 1953 and afterward owned by Sewell Sillman and James McNair. Sillman attended Black Mountain College with Asawa and the two remained lifelong friends.

Ruth Asawa woven wire basket

Ruth Asawa woven wire basket

Asawa began creating sinuous woven wire sculptures in the 1940s, while a student at Black Mountain College. In a New York Times article she is quoted as saying, “I was interested in it because of the economy of a line, making something in space, enclosing it without blocking it out. It's still transparent.” The piece, dating from the late 1940s, is estimated at $20,000/30,000.

“Le Jeu des Arlequins”, a color lithograph by Marc Chagall, estimated at $12,000/15,000, is one of nearly 50 prints or multiples included in the sale. Other highlights include the etching “Adolescence” by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (New Jersey/England, 1890-1978), estimated at $8,000/12,000 and the engraving “Saint Eustace” by Albrecht Durer (Germany, 1471-1528), estimated at $6,000/8,000.

Additional antique categories

In addition to sporting and fine art, the 900-lot sale will also include antique furniture, silver, Oriental rugs, Americana, ethnographic art, marine art, and a significant number of historic and political documents. Highlights include a Queen Anne bonnet-top highboy attributed to Ebenezer Hartshorn of Charlestown, Massachusetts, estimated at $35,000/$50,000, important tall-clocks by Boston-area clockmakers William Cummens, Aaron Willard and Elnathan Taber, carrying $20,000/$30,000 and $25,000/$35,000 estimates, a broadside of George Washington’s Farewell Address, conservatively estimated at $800/$1,200, and a seven-piece Gorham Martele .950 silver tea and coffee service with a delicate hand-chased floral design, estimated at $20,000/$30,000.

“I think this might be one of the most well-rounded sales we’ve had in years,” said Joshua Eldred, president of Eldred’s. “Almost every department has a number of highlights and there’s good quality across the board. This auction truly has something for everyone.”

All lots in the Spring sale can be viewed on Eldred’s website, This is a live auction, with phone and absentee bidding available with pre-registration. Online bidding is also available through An exhibition will be held in the days leading up to the auction, and material can also be viewed on the sale date. Please call 508-385-3116 with any questions or to order a catalog.

About Eldred’s Auctions

The Robert C. Eldred Co. is New England's oldest established antiques and fine arts auction house, now in its third generation of ownership under the Eldred and Schofield families. In addition to its headquarters on Cape Cod’s historic Old King’s Highway in East Dennis, Mass., the firm also has an office at 5 Roosevelt Avenue in Mystic, Ct. Eldred’s conducts approximately 25 auctions per year encompassing Americana, paintings, Asian art, European decorative art, maritime antiques, sporting art and collectibles. It was recently named one of the top worldwide auction houses by Art + Auction and holds auction records across a wide range of collecting areas.

For more information call (508) 385-3116 or email

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