Rare Garfield Carte de Visite Brings $4,068 at Weiss Sale

Garfield_smallA rare signed carte de visite of former President James A. Garfield – taken when he was a Union Brigadier General in the Civil War, prior to his assassination by gunshot at the hand of Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881 – sold for $4,068 at an estate sale that was top-heavy with weapons and militaria, held Nov. 14-15 by Philip Weiss Auctions. Garfield himself signed the CDV.

Cartes de visites are a highly collectible form of early photography. They’re even more desirable when taken of known historical figures and signed. They were a type of small photo — patented in Paris, France in 1854 by photographer Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi — and usually made of an albumen print (a thin paper photograph, mounted on a thicker paper card measuring 2 1/8 inches by 3 ½ inches).

The Garfield CDV was one of about 1,400 lots that changed hands in a sale that grossed more than $500,000. Around 200 people attended the event in person – at Philip Weiss Auctions’ showroom, located at #1 Neil Court in Oceanside – while phone, Internet and absentee bidding were active both days. “The phones rang almost non-stop, especially on Sunday, and we recorded close to 3,000 absentee bids,” said Philip Weiss. “We also had well over 500 registered online bidders, through Proxibid.com.”

Weiss attributed the success of the auction to the quality of items in the military collections. “This was all fresh-to-the-market merchandise,” he remarked, “and the true, dedicated collectors will come out in full force when they know they’re bidding on original items, not recycled inventory. We had an all right day on Saturday, but Sunday was when these great military collections were offered.”

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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