Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Shadow Pattern, oil on canvas, 25" x 30", $49,200 (est. $15,000/25,000).
William Morris Hunt (1824-1879), The Promised Land (The Ferry to Appledore), oil on canvas, 18Â½" x 24", failed to sell (est. $75,000/125,000). Elowitch reported that it sold after the sale for $80,000.
Andrew Winter (1893-1958), Gulls at Monhegan III, oil on canvas, 23" x 28", $16,200 (est. $9000/12,000).
Remo Farruggio (1904-1981), Monhegan, oil on masonite, 32" x 40", $9000 (est. $1200/1800).
Barridoff Galleries, Portland, Maine
by Hannah Pennington
Photos courtesy Barridoff Galleries
Barridoff Galleries in Portland, Maine, broke its pattern this year. Instead of holding an annual auction in August, it opted for April 25. "We wanted to shake things up," commented gallery owner Rob Elowitch after the auction. The auction's location also changed. Instead of the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, the sale took place at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at Maine College of Art (MECA). "We really wanted to be more a part of the local scene," said Elowitch.
The college certainly met Elowitch's goal of being more central. Located on Congress Street, ICA is in the heart of downtown Portland. On the night of the auction, as well as at the preview, people could be seen going up and down Congress Street with their catalogs in hand. The MECA/ICA's all-glass walls (in the historic Porteous, Mitchell and Braun building, once a prominent department store) that face Congress Street also allowed passersby to glimpse the lots being shown on preview night. Such an accessible location was tremendous publicity for the gallery and for the college.
"We are thrilled with the space," co-owner Annette Elowitch commented at the preview. "I am a trustee at MECA, so we're happy that this worked out." With people coming, going, and stopping in to chat, the preview had more of a feel of a social get-together than an auction preview. Annette Elowitch's easy charm and talkative nature added to the atmosphere.
The space was indeed beautiful, although some sporadically placed columns made for difficult visuals when it came to bidding. "If you're bidding, don't keep it a secret from me," joked auctioneer William O'Reilly as he welcomed the crowd to the auction.
The results of all these changes? "Terrific. It was very typical of the times. We had some low numbers and some high numbers, but overall everyone was delighted," said Rob Elowitch after the auction.
Among the high numbers, John Sloan's Gloucester Seacoast sold for $84,000 (includes buyer's premium). A Marguerite Zorach watercolor, reminiscent of peacock feathers, went at $43,200, more than double the $18,000 high estimate. Another great surprise was Martin Lewis's Shadow Pattern, an oil on canvas that sold for $49,200 (est. $15,000/25,000).
Among the disappointments, a Winslow Homer charcoal and pencil on paper, At the House Raising, Prouts Neck, estimated at $30,000/50,000, failed to sell. William Zorach's bronze sculpture Child on Pony, estimated at $30,000/50,000, also remained unsold. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the evening was the oil on canvas by William Morris Hunt The Promised Land (The Ferry to Appledore), which was accompanied by nearly two catalog pages of history and reviews. Estimated at $75,000/125,000, it failed to sell at the sale but, according to Rob Elowitch, sold afterward for "eighty thousand dollars total."
Two Luigi Loir paintings each sold for five figures. Evening, Champs-Ã‰lysÃ©es, an oil on canvas that had been in the collection of Helen Hayes and in that of her son, actor James MacArthur (Hawaii Five-0), sold for $48,000 to a phone bidder (est. $60,000/ 90,000). Loir's other artwork, Nanny watching a child playing with hoop sticks in a busy Paris neighborhood, sold for $14,400, also to a phone bidder.
Other highlights included Cherries by Robert Spear Dunning, an oil on canvas that sold for $15,600 (est. $6000/9000), and Andrew Winter's Gulls at Monhegan III that went at $16,200.
Lots 270-278 were withdrawn because of a divorce disagreement. This group of paintings included two works by Jamie Wyeth, one of which, a graphite drawing of Kent House, Monhegan, was accompanied by a handwritten note on Wyeth's stationery. The audience was clearly disappointed to hear the news of the withdrawal of these lots, and many people began to collect their things after the announcement.
In an e-mail after the sale Rob Elowitch wrote: "We will be having two auctions a year from now on, as we did for years until probably 2001 or so. They will always be at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. We have a great start for our next auction this year in October, which already includes 40 lots (oils, oil sketches, studies, and watercolors) by Edwin Lord Weeks that descended in his family here in Maine, five wonderful early watercolors by Andy Warhol, and a great Andrew Wyeth. We think the new location and results of the April auction have worked wonders."
For more information, contact Barridoff Galleries at (207) 772-5011 or visit the Web site (www.barridoff.com).
William Zorach (1887-1966), Child on Pony, bronze, 25" x 22", failed to sell (est. $30,000/50,000).
Hans Moller (1905-2000), Girl with Bird, gouache and ink on paper, 28" x 20", $2400, more than double its $900 high estimate.
Frederic Dorr Steele (1873-1944), Sherlock Holmes, An Illustration for "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane," charcoal, 21" x 15", $1680 (est. $900/1200).
Thomas Barrett (b. 1927), Monhegan Lobsterman, gouache, 19Â½" x 26Â½" (sight), $2040 (est. $900/1200).
Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968), untitled, circa 1913, watercolor, 25" x 20", $43,200 (est. $12,000/18,000).
Vytautas Kasiulis (Lithuanian, 1918-1995), The Portrait, oil on canvas, 25Â½" x 20", $3240 (est. $400/600).
Howard Clifford (b. 1950), Cloud Series XVII, oil on canvas, 40" x 60", $4200 (est. $1200/1800).
Robert Spear Dunning (1829-1905), Cherries, oil on canvas, 5" x 8 1/16", $15,600 (est. $6000/9000).