The Sunday June 3 American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction featured over 140 works of art by renowned American painters John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872), Charles Harold Davis (1856-1933), Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) and Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), as well as Pennsylvania artists Fern Isabel Coppedge (1883-1951) and Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965). The sale totaled nearly $1,675,000, and achieved an 87 percent sell-through rate. Ten percent of the day’s buyers were new.
More than a dozen works by Arthur Beecher Carles (1882-1952) came from the collection of June and Perry Ottenberg, Philadelphia patrons of many of the city’s most important fine artists, such as Elizabeth Osborne and Jane Piper. Paintings by Carles achieved a 100 percent sell-through rate, with Lot 95, “Autumn Bouquet,” a painting the artists said was among his best, and still in its original Harer frame, selling for more than four times its high estimate, for $137,500.
Lot 91, “Portrait of Caroline Robinson Carles”—the first portrait of the artist’s second wife and cover of the sale catalogue—sold for $68,750 against an estimate of $20,000-30,000. Lot 97, “The Blue Lady,” sold for $18,750, over six times its high estimate of $2,000-3,000, establishing a new record for a work on paper by the artist. Carles was a native Philadelphian and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The Ottenbergs recognized his importance, and their collection includes a significant number of oil paintings and works on paper in various media. In 2002, they gifted a major collection of Carles’ paper and archives to PAFA, where the painter had once been a teacher.
Notable highlights from the sale included “New Center Bridge” by Edward Willis Redfield (Lot 123). The piece depicted the eponymous structure in the small Bucks County town, which was completed in 1926 and built upon the remaining piers and abutments of the original bridge that was destroyed by the fire of 1923, and which sold on Sunday for $125,000. John Frederick Kensett’s “Spouting Rock Beach, Newport,” (Lot 12), was recently rediscovered and authenticated, and will enter the catalogue raisonné of Kensett’s work as one of the artist’s earliest and key Newport subject paintings. The painting sold for $68,750.
“Summer Clouds” by Charles Harold Davis (Lot 47) exceeded its presale estimate when it sold for $56,250. A painting by Gifford Beal, “Mount Monadnock” (Lot 37) more than tripled its high estimate, selling for $18,750, while a watercolor by Childe Hassam, “Newburgh, New York” (Lot 26) sold for $43,750, above its presale estimate of $15,000-25,000.
A study for a portrait by Philadelphia native Thomas Eakins, of Mrs. Ruth Leonard (Lot 18), wife of Philadelphia physician and noted X-ray pioneer and specialist, Dr. Charles Lester Leonard, sold for $28,750. Regrettably, the finished portrait for which Lot 18 is a study, no longer exists. When Lloyd Goodrich, Eakins’ first biographer, contacted the couple’s only daughter about it, she replied: “Unfortunately this portrait met with an accident and is no longer in existence.”
Works by Pennsylvania Impressionist Fern Isabel Coppedge represented one third of the one dozen top-performing lots of the day. Lot 138, “Snow and Sunshine,” sold for $93,750, Lot 114, “The Road to Lumberville,” in its original Harer frame, sold for $75,000, and Lots 137, “Winter in Point Pleasant” and 145, “Gloucester Harbor,” each sold for $50,000.
“We are especially pleased with the day’s results,” Alasdair Nichol, Chairman and American Art Department Head said. “That the works by Arthur Carles achieved ‘white-glove’ status speaks to the importance of the artist and his lasting contribution to the field.”
Freeman’s has sold more works by Pennsylvania Impressionists than any other auction house, and is also the only auction house to have sales dedicated to this exciting collecting area. The department is currently inviting consignments for its December auction.
Freeman’s is currently accepting consignments for its next American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists sale.