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Barridoff's Spring Sale of Fine Art

Hannah Pennington | April 24th, 2013


View of the Barred Islands II by Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), a 1965 oil on masonite, 19" x 29", sold for $24,000 (est. $20,000/30,000). Barridoff had sold the same picture on August 6, 2004, for $18,720 to a Falmouth, Maine, collector.


Dockside by Anthony Thieme (1888-1954), 25" x 30", oil on canvas, sold for $43,200.


Guatama and Bodhisattvas by Shiko Munakata (Japanese, 1903-1975),  9" x 12¾", woodcut print on paper, sold for $6720 to an Internet bidder. The print was estimated at $2000/3000, and there was a flurry of interest for each of the three Munakatas offered. The other two (not shown) were Koidakihi no saku, signed and dated “Munakata 1957,” 12½" x 8½", which sold for $5040 (est. $2000/3000), and a 6" x 8" signed woodcut with watercolor of a nude for $6240 (est. $2000/3000).


By Maine artist John Bradley Hudson (1832-1903), Oriole Overlooking Nest, oil on canvas, 9½" x 12", sold for $7200, crushing the $1500/2500 estimate.


Emerald Pond near Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire by Samuel Lancaster Gerry (1813-1891), 14" x 20", oil on canvas, sold for $7440 (est. $1500/2500).

Barridoff Galleries, Portland, Maine

Photos courtesy Barridoff Galleries

Barridoff Galleries held its American and European art auction on April 24 at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in downtown Portland, Maine. This is its third auction at this location. As has been the case since the move, a portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the programs at MECA. Heading into the sale Rob Elowitch, gallery co-owner, was optimistic. “The economy is better now than at our previous sales. We have more phone bidders as well as a tremendous presence on line. I mean, who knows if it will make a difference, but it may.”

Indeed, the Internet presence was notable at the sale. Often times the representatives for the on-line bidders would be shouting out bids, seemingly against themselves. “What do you need me here for?” asked auctioneer William O’Reilly with a smile.

The sale got off to a promising start with an ink on paper street scene by George Grosz. When it was first projected onto the wall it caused quite a stir among phone bidders. The estimate was $9000/12,000, and it went to a phone bidder for $42,000 (includes buyer’s premium). The top seller was Anthony Thieme’s oil on canvas Dockside, which sold for $43,200. Thieme’s In the Bahamas, featured on the catalog cover, brought $31,200.

Reynolds Beal’s oil on canvas Ivy League Rowing Regatta, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Columbia Boat Club Wins was estimated at $35,000/45,000. The bidders included Maine art and antiques broker Seth Thayer in the audience, but the lot didn’t sell to the hammer; after the sale, Elowitch reported it sold for $42,000.

An oil on panel, Sailing Vessels, by Edward Henry Potthast went to an in-house bidder for $30,000. The buyer was a New Jersey collector, who noted it was “going to the Jersey Shore…It is a great piece, and Potthast is one of the finest American Impressionists.”

At this sale several oil on canvas portraits done by Walt Kuhn were offered. Mona sparked quite a battle between a phone bidder and an in-house bidder. The phone bidder eventually won out, snagging the painting for $11,280 (est. $4000/6000). The underbidder was a collector who said Mona was “the best piece in the show.”

The other big-ticket painting that sold at the auction was View of the Barred Islands II, 1965,by Fairfield Porter. According to the catalog, the oil on masonite had been sold by Barridoff Galleries in 2004 for $18,720. This time the painting was estimated at $20,000/30,000 and sold for $24,000.

When the auction concluded, there were 66 lots that failed to sell, but Elowitch was still pleased with the outcome. In an e-mail after the sale he noted, “It was our most successful in a long time. Good sale, equally good post-auction sale. There are no important paintings still available.”

For more information, contact Barridoff Galleries at (207) 772-5011 or check the Web site (www.barridoff.com).

Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965), Maine Winterscape, 18" x 24", oil on canvas, sold to an in-house bidder for $12,600, well above its $3000/5000 estimate.

It didn’t sell during the auction, but Barridoff reported that the 26" x 36" oil on canvas by Reynolds Beal, Ivy League Rowing Regatta, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Columbia Boat Club Wins, 1914, sold after the sale for $42,000. It had been offered twice at auction fairly recently and didn’t sell. In 2010, Barridoff estimated it at $80,000/120,000, and in July 2012, Everard & Company in Savannah, Georgia, couldn’t get an opening bid of $45,000 for it. Pennington photo.

The brightly painted white walls of the Lunder Gallery served as a perfect backdrop for projected images of the paintings as they were sold. Even though each artwork was enlarged and projected, the runners at the sale still hauled almost all the lots up in front of the audience. The street scene of pedestrians by George Grosz (German/American, 1893-1959), 1917-20, ink on paper, 22¾" x 17¼", sold to a phone bidder for $42,000 (est. $9000/12,000). It had belonged to Carl N. Schmalz (1926-2013), an artist and an emeritus professor of fine arts at Amherst College and before that a professor of fine arts at Bowdoin College. After retiring from Amherst, he taught watercolor classes at a Maine resort. Schmalz had purchased the Grosz from Swetzoff Gallery in Boston in 1959 or 1960.

Mona by Walt Kuhn, 1932, 15" x 12", oil on canvas, sold to a phone bidder for $11,280 (est. $4000/6000).

Shepard’s Point, Lake Pennesseewassee, Norway, Maine by Vivian Akers (1886-1966), 25" x 30", oil on canvas, sold for $4080 (est. $2000/3000).

The estimate for the 30" x 36" In the Bahamas by Anthony Thieme was $30,000/50,000. It had been purchased from Grand Central Galleries, New York City, in the mid-20th century by the consigning family. Thieme had made several variations of the scene, and this one, in untouched condition, had been made into a popular print. “We learned after the sale,” said Elowitch, “that the strong Bahamas market had always been fueled by a few very wealthy collectors, all of whom likely already owned a version.” Nonetheless, it sold for $31,200.


Originally published in the July 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest

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