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Department Specialist


David Weiss
Senior Vice President | Department Head

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Published: 19 January 2016

Selections from the Specialist | European Art & Old Masters

Freeman’s upcoming auction of European Art & Old Masters features 258 lots, comprised of artworks ranging from the 16th through the 20th centuries, and includes prints, works on paper, paintings and sculpture. The auction also features a number of non-European works by artists from Russia, Mexico and Israel. Department head and fine art specialist David Weiss shares what he considers to be some of the stand-out works of the sale, no easy task in an auction with such a wide-ranging diversity of style, period, and subject. Full exhibition of this sale will open to the public on Thursday, January 21. We invite you to join us on Chestnut Street to view these and other works being offered in the January 26 auction.

Browse the Complete Auction Catalogue

One of two works by Ury in this auction, each from the same private collection, this somewhat monochromatic yet powerful painting shows the artist at the height of his powers. Ury was affiliated with the Dusseldorf School of painting, but was also regarded as a bit of a recluse, and was associated with non-traditional artist circles in Germany: the Berlin and Munich Secessions. The present work is typical of Ury’s oeuvre, capturing a moment in time during a Berlin evening rain shower, rendered in an impressionist style in thinly applied oils with somber overtones. 

 

Lot 164
Lesser Ury
(german 1861-1931)
"Evening Street Scene with Figures, Berlin" (detail)
Estimate $100,000-150,000

 

Somewhat of a lesser-known artist in America, Armington retains an important place as a skilled Canadian impressionist painter specializing in landscapes. Apart from this painting being one of 14 landscapes by the artist in the January auction, it combines the best of impressionism – the deft, fleeting, feathery brushwork – in an evening North African setting that fits in nicely within the Orientalist genre.

 

Lot 163
Frank Milton Armington
(canadian 1876-1941)
"Les Pins, Constantine" (detail)
Estimate $25,000-35,000

 

Bronzes by Nemon, an underappreciated but highly accomplished British sculptor of the 20th century rarely find their way to this side of the Atlantic. Rendered with great fidelity towards its subject – the father of modern psychotherapy – Nemon appears to revel in the sort of chunkiness of the medium itself, leaving areas of the sculpture with a certain unfinished, unmodelled look. Depictions of Freud, whether rendered in two or three dimensions are always popular. We imagine that potential bidders, most likely English, will have not only an active, but perhaps subconscious desire to bid on lot 82.

 

Lot 82
Oscar Nemon
(british 1906-1985)
"Sigmund Freud" (detail)
Estimate $8,000-12,000

 

As it has since the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Venice remains an important and beloved subject for both artist and viewer. Unterberger’s stock in trade are his large format canvases depicting the city of canals with convincing perspective and masterful capturing of the warm Italian light. The viewer is encouraged to enter the picture plane from center left, first gazing on the gentleman with parasol, then looking eastward across the Bacino di San Marco. Adding to the painting’s appeal is its almost squarish size.

 

Lot 203
Franz Richard Unterberger
(austrian 1838-1902)
"The Bacino di San Marco, Venice, Looking East" (detail)
Estimate $50,000-70,000

 

A prolific painter, Amorsolo painted portraits of the Philippine presidents, portraits of revolutionary figures and self-portraits, but is really best known for paintings like the present work: native Filipinos engaged in the labors and activities of the day, including washerwomen, harvesters, bathers, fishermen and market scenes. His subjects, as in the present painting, are imbued with a kind of quiet humanity that eschews false flattery or excess romanticism. This slice-of-life feature of Amorsolo’s paintings resonates with private collectors and dealers alike, both in the U.S.. and abroad. As such, his paintings are very popular and tend to command strong prices in the secondary auction market.

 

Lot 254
Fernando Cueto Amorsolo
(filipino 1892-1972)
"Lavanderas" (detail)
Estimate $15,000-25,000

 

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