In this series, the UAA team will list some of the interesting items that we have found in auctions, antique shops, shows or eBay. We neither own the items or have the capability of examining the items in person in some cases. It mainly serves as an inventory record of what interests us (not necessarily in terms of value or investment opportunities) and possibly how much it fetches (if the result can be obtained). If you are serious about some lots, please contact the auction houses, dealers or eBay sellers directly.
1. Doyle Auction, Feb 24, 2010. Lot 76, Adam and Eve by Arthur Bowen Davies
This particular painting was for sale in Doyle’s November auction. Estimated between $7,000 and $9,000 then, the lot attracted some interests but failed to sell. This time the estimation has dropped (between $4,000 and $6,000). There seems to be inpaint issues as the description says “areas of inpaint scattered throughout and along edges“, so a personal examination is important in this case.
Davies is perhaps the most idiosyncratic painter among the Eight whose mature works like this one haven’t seen a surge of demand in the market. There have been several monograph exhibitions in the past, but I cannot recall one in the past ten years. As the centennial anniversary of 1913 Armory Show is approaching, I am speculating that Davies, who served as the president of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and ran the show, would receive more curatorial and market attention.
2. John Moran Auction, Feb 16, 2010. Lot 63, Belvedere by Charles Rollo Peters
If the scenery of Spanish adobes at night are too alien to Yankees, Peters’ painting of Belvedere proved Whistler’s comment was more than just compliment: He is the only artist other than Whistler who could paint nocturnes.
When he died in his native city San Francisco on March 1, 1928. Eugen Neuhaus wrote, “He loved to paint the crumbling façades and tiled roofs of some moonlit Spanish adobe, and in developing the inherent textural and color qualities, he achieved a very unique and personal style. His color schemes are the rich analogues of the blue and purple of night with the complementary nuances of a small bit of orange light peeping through a half-shut window.” An example can be seen in lot 64. Here, he chose what Whistler excelled the most: water scene at night with high horizon that flattens up the water surface. My experience with Whistler’s paintings tell me that one needs to see such paintings in person to feel the nuance and mood, probably it will apply to Peters, one of his followers. For more information about tonalism in Northwest, check the book A Painter’s Paradise: Artists and the California Landscape : Essays.
3. Campaign desk at Circa Antiques, Ltd (374 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn NY, 11217). Asking price: $1,800
This was pointed out to us when we stopped into Circa Antiques on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The desk opened in a snap, and closed just as easily. A very handsome object, it would surely fit in almost any nook and delight house guests. It contains the original lid to the ink well. Beyond the initial curiosity, I’m not quite sure what purpose it could serve in a 21st Century home or apartment, aside from adding personality. You could, I suppose, write letters on it and take up scribing with a quill. The design calls out for a modern adaptation as a laptop case. The price of $1800 quoted to us is $800 less than the price listed on the shop’s Ruby Lane site.
In October 1878, Andrew Carnegie and his friend John Vandervort set off on a mad cross-continental dash by train from New York to San Francisco to catch a ship sailing to Japan; by the time they ended their voyages around the globe with an uneventful sail home from London in May 1879, Carnegie-as both a businessman and a social benefactor, – had been profoundly influenced by the cultures he’d explored and peoples he’d met. With a signed inscription by Carnegie on the dedication page: “Yours for the Brotherhood/of Man/Andrew Carnegie/New York/Feby 6th/1901.” At the bottom Carnegie has added, “For James C. Young Esq/Minneapolis/Minn.” Offered by Charles Agvent, Mertztown, PA, through Alibris. Andrew Carnegie’s signature at auction seems to go for $50-$600 for a signed letter. A signed, but not inscribed copy sold at Skinner in November, 2006 for $250. If you’re not concerned with having an inscription, a modern copy is available on Alibris for $11.79. http://www.alibris.com/booksearch.detail?invid=8148008993&browse=2&query=andrew+carnegie&first=1&qsort=&page=1