A painting done by the Beatles, bored in a Japanese hotel room, will be offered at auction September 13. Created in 1966, Images of a Woman was signed by all four band members. It was given as a gift to the Beatles’ fan club president in Japan, changed hands several time and was most recently consigned by a collector from Japan. The sale also includes other rock-related art including a painting by Frank Zappa. Read more in the Hartford Courant.
Several works by Abstract painter Nathan Dunn kicked off today’s auction at Gray’s in Cleveland. The artist is closely associated with Cleveland’s rival city of Pittsburgh.
Dunn studied at Carnegie Institute of Technology and became best known for his works throughout Pittsburgh, Ohio, and West Virginia. He also painted in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the northern summers. It was Ohio that gave Dunn his first one-man show, however.
The Butler Institute of American Art at that time known as The Butler Gallery was the site of the 1957 show. The museum holds the artist’s work in its collection today. Dunn would go on to exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Playhouse and the Canton Art Institute in Ohio.
Dunn was also said to have been represented in the art collection of actor Vincent Price.
He was a member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh.
With most art works fetching in the $100 range, today’s auction may have reinvigorated the artist’s post-mortem career. While not big money as far as the art world goes, several of the works topped $1,000. Compared to other 20th Century regional artists, that still puts Dunn well in the affordable category.
The works offered at auction included examples of regional realism, included images of Pittsburgh. A particularly strong work was a view of Downtown Sharon (1945), a Pennsylvania community North of Pittsburgh and not far from the Butler Institute in Youngstown.
Compared to the work held at the Butler, The Cove from 1959, some of the works offered today were more abstract including Red, White and Blue, also from 1959. The undated Abstract Sail Boats recalls works by other mid-century artists deconstructions of regional marine scapes. The older abstract works seemed to be the strongest performers.
Is this the story of a forgotten artist rediscovered? Only time will tell. He may have just been an artist late to the game, creating “Ashcan”-looking works in the 1940s and abstract works in the 1950s and 60s. His works do seem to represent an affordable entry into the mid-century abstract market, and are an excellent addition into collections of regional artists from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio including anyone from George Hetzel to Clyde Singer.
A judge in England recently ruled a painting purchased for more than $2.6 million from Christie’s in London is a fake. Christie’s must pay Russian billionaire buyer Viktor Vekselberg the $2.6 million, plus $2.2 million in damages, according to the Daily Telegraph. Originally thought to be painted by Boris Kustodiev, the signature was allegedly made with aluminum based pigment available only after the artist’s death in 1927. The work had been described in the 2005 sale catalogue as “one of the best examples of Kustodiev’s idea of the provincial merchant class.” It was said to have displayed the inscription “B. Kustodiev – 1919.”
Image: Boris Kustodiev- This self-portrait from 1912 from Wikipedia is not the painting in question.
The lap desk and quill belonging to Nicholas Philip Trist, used to write and sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on Feb. 2, 1848 – an historic event that ended the Mexican-American War and resulted in Mexico ceding 55 percent of its pre-war territory, thereby completing the United States’ Manifest Destiny — will be sold at auction Friday, Sept. 7, by Aumann Auctions, Inc., in Pierce, Neb., in conjunction with MCHJ Auctioneers of Nebraska.
The importance and historical significance of the lap desk and quill cannot be overstated. Second in size and importance only to the Louisiana Purchase, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo led to the purchase by the United States, at a cost of $15 million, of 525,000 square miles, including all or part of ten states: Texas, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. The acquisition forever changed the size and shape of this country.
“Already we have been contacted by several museums from around the country, expressing strong interest,” said Kelly Aumann of Aumann Auctions, Inc. “It’s great that they’re interested, but we want everyone, including collectors and investors, to be able to bid. An opportunity like this is simply unheard of and a find like this is truly once in a lifetime. These items are of such monumental historical significance it’s impossible to predict what they might bring at auction.”
The lap desk was made sometime between 1831 and 1837. The label on the desk reads “N. Starkey, Manufacturer of Portable Desks, Dressing Cases, Medicine Chests and Ladies Work Boxes, No. 52 Walnut St., Opposite the Exchange, Philadelphia.” The brass nameplate on the desk reads “N. P. Trist.”
The quill has been filled with some sort of plaster and inscribed with what looks to be “Treaty of Peace, Feb. 2, 1848 (Triplicate) NTP’s (Signature).” The words “Triplicate” and “Signature” are in parentheses because, although Aumann Auctions is fairly certain of the word “Triplicate,” it is not quite as certain of the word “Signature.” So, they are in quotes, pending further inspection.
The lap desk and quill surfaced sometime between 1978 and 1982 – on a small farm in Nebraska, of all places, as some of Trist’s descendants ended up living in Omaha. The items were purchased from an elderly man by a local antiques dealer in the late 1970s, who in turn sold them to the parents of the consignor in the mid-1980s. Since then, they have been kept wrapped in a quilt in a closet.
Nicholas Philip Trist (1800-1874) was commissioned in 1847 by President James K. Polk to serve as executive agent (with General Winfield Scott, and when the time was right) to negotiate an end to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). During the 16 months of the war, the Mexican presidency would change hands nine times between six different men. With the Mexican government in chaos, two previous at a peace agreement both failed. Trist and Gen. Scott determined that the only way to deal with
Mexico was as a conquered enemy.
In September 1847, Scott surrounded and took the capital, Mexico City, forcing Santa Anna to call for an armistice. By October, Polk became frustrated with the wait and recalled Trist, but news of his recall didn’t reach him until Nov. 16, 1847 – after the Mexican special peace commission had finally been appointed.
Trist felt the only opportunity for peace was at hand so he defied President Polk and continued working toward a peace treaty. In a December 4, 1847 letter to his wife, Trist wrote, “Knowing it to be the very last chance and impressed with the dreadful consequences to our country which cannot fail to attend the loss of that chance, I decided today at noon to attempt to make a treaty; the decision is altogether my own.” Trist effectively defying a presidential directive only enhances the legend and cache of the lap desk and quill.
The historic Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed at the main altar of the old Basilica of Guadalupe at Villa Hidalgo, in the northern part of Mexico City, on Feb. 2, 1848. It was not known at the time, but the signing was nine days after gold was discovered in California.
Trist sent the signed treaty to Washington by the fastest means possible, but no one could foresee how the Polk administration would receive an agreement negotiated by a now unofficial agent. The treaty did meet the minimum demands as set forth in the instructions from Polk, so he had no choice but to forward the treaty to the Senate, where it was reluctantly ratified on March 10, 1848 (by a vote of 34-14). However, Trist was immediately fired from public service and his expenses during his time in Texas were not paid until 1871, leaving Trist in financial ruin.
Not only do the lap desk and quill have a connection to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, they also have a link to Thomas Jefferson as well. Trist married Virginia Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s granddaughter, at Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Virginia, on Sept. 11, 1824. He lived and worked at Monticello and acted as Jefferson’s secretary. He was also co-executor of Jefferson’s estate following his death in 1826.
Antique and vintage furniture can offer such style value when compared to newly-produced retail products that it’s really remarkable. Take this sofa set designed by Peter Hvidt. The condition seems to be good. It’s versatile because its in two pieces, it’s not light in look and would fit perfectly into a small contemporary apartment. Finding something in all-original condition can be a challenge, but is an important factor to serious collectors, and can help preserve resell value. This pair is composed if teak and chrome and not only features original upholstery, but also spring cushions and labels. Continue Reading »
The room was full for a recent American art auction at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. The evening brought paintings from the Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust. Together with the morning session, which offered works from Lexington Trust of Los Angeles, the sale brought in more than $5 million.
It was the collection of Graham Williford we found most interesting. Continue Reading »
Move over Picasso, with a pre-sale estimate of $80 million, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, became the highest-priced artwork to ever sell at auction during Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. This version of the iconic masterpiece achieved $119,922,500 million.
Painted between 1893 and 1910, the works show an agonized figure against a red sky. The National Gallery, Oslo holds one of two painted versions, which have been the target in several prominent art thefts.
The bidding started around $50 million and lasted for over 15 minutes when an unnamed bidder by phone gave the final offer of US$119,922,500, including commission. Private sales have exceeded The Scream, including The Card Players by Cézanne, which brought $250 million.
I am not sure I have ever seen Freeman’s auction so packed with furniture. Today’s American Furniture, Silver, Decorative & Folk Arts auction in Philadelphia featured an array in styles and quality, providing insights into market strengths.
The highlight for me was an architect’s desk once owned by Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll. Irish in origin, this item stood out in a sea of mahogany, walnut and maple. The provenance only enhanced the innovative design. Continue Reading »
A highlight of an upcoming sale at Clars Auction will be an original bedroom suite created by Pottier & Stymus for San Francisco silver baron James C. Flood and his mansion called Linden Towers.
Linden Towers was, at the time, regarded as the most elaborate country estate of the period. With an estimated worth of $18 million in the 1870s, Flood spared no expense in building and furnishing his Menlo Park mansion, commissioning artisans from around the world and using only the finest materials and furnishings obtainable. Continue Reading »
If you’ve been watching ABC’s GCB, you know it’s set in Highland Park, a wealthy enclave surrounded by Dallas. The exterior shots you see on the show are of Dallas, but the show is filmed in California. So what’s it like inside a home in the real neighborhood depicted on GBC? The closest you may ever get is an upcoming auction by J. Garrett Auctioneers. Continue Reading »