Interior scene by Eugenio Landesio (Italian, 1809-1879), oil on canvas, signed and dated 1863, an original handwritten label identifying the scene as a corridor of the house of the Mine of Mellado in Guanajuato, Mexico, 16½" x 11½" (sight), craquelure, relined with wax method, small amounts of inpainting, $24,000.
Dessert service, 39 pieces in gilt sterling silver, marked for London, 1859, and “GA” for George William Adams (working 1840-83), in a mahogany presentation box labeled “Vander & Hedges, Silversmiths/ 26 New Bond St. W.,” plus three similar pieces of flatware, $6600.
Portrait of a woman, school of John Riley (English, 1646-1691), oil on canvas, inscribed “Mrs. Fox, Only Daughter to Sr. Willm. Trollop, of Caswick, in Lincolnshire. Died 1703,” 49" x 39" plus period gilt and gesso frame, gallery label for Frost & Reed of London, relined, light scattered inpainting to coincide with existing craquelure, $12,000.
Kentucky Sheraton sugar chest on turned legs, 1800-15, cherry, 36½" high x 40" wide, rounded edge of lid is a later addition, age splits at both ends, interior divider removed, $2880. The chest previously sold at Cowan’s in February 2010 for $3525.
Louis XV-style commode, French, 19th century, mahogany with a marble top and kingwood marquetry 35½" high x 54" wide, marble cracked, popping and repairs to veneer, $10,800.
Cowan’s Auctions, Cincinnati, Ohio
Artwork played a pivotal role during the November 17, 2012, sale of fine and decorative art held by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a good thing. The tap on the decorative arts market ran hot and cold much of the day, with Continental furniture and accessories often outpacing American items.
“The sale grossed something like five hundred and fifty [thousand dollars], and the fine art accounted for about half of that,” said Graydon Sikes, Cowan’s director of paintings and prints. “The paintings had a pretty strong showing.”
Approximately 475 cataloged lots were offered. Top bidding of the day was for Sunlit Corridor, Guanajuato by Eugenio Landesio (Italian, 1809-1879), oil on canvas, 16½" x 11½", signed and dated 1863. It realized $24,000 (includes buyer’s premium). A handwritten label in French identified the scene as an interior corridor of the house of the Mine of Mellado in Guanajuato, Mexico.
An Italian native, Landesio came to Mexico as the result of a decree in 1843 by Mexico’s president, General Lopez de Santa Anna, who reopened the National Academy of San Carlos, staffing it with directors and professors chosen from the finest artists in Europe.
It was a period when Latin American academies were moving away from the Neoclassical style and toward academic realism. Landesio was a part of that. “He sort of brought that westernization of fine art to Mexico,” Sikes said.
The catalog added, “Landesio’s landscapes of Mexico are his best-known works, but many of his landscapes also feature the colonial architecture which surrounded the artist and his students. The painting presented here is a rare example of an entirely interior scene by Landesio, which exemplifies his mastery of perspective, usage of light, and his appreciation for detail.”
Landesio’s art remains highly sought. “Very few paintings by that artist surface at auction,” said Sikes. The work sold to a Portuguese buyer.
“That really was a special painting,” Sikes added. “It came from a consignment with a good pedigree, old-family history.”
Provenance and quality continue to play crucial roles across today’s art market. According to Sikes, strong results often come when a painting is a great example of an artist’s work, and when it originates from an established collection. “It doesn’t even have to be a well-known artist,” he said.
American art in the auction was led by Summer Storm on the Narragansett Shore by William Trost Richards (1833-1905), oil on cradled panel, signed, 9" x 15", at $13,200. The seascape depicted waves and rocks. From an estate in Louisville, Kentucky, the work had previously been purchased at Christie’s. “It was just a good, solid Richards painting with good purchase history, good pedigree,” said Sikes.
Among the other art that did well was a portrait of a woman identified as Mrs. Fox, from the school of John Riley (English, 1646-1691), oil on canvas, inscribed “Mrs. Fox, Only Daughter to Sr. Willm. Trollop, of Caswick, in Lincolnshire. Died 1703,” which realized $12,000.
Also selling for $12,000 was a lot consisting of three 5" x 7" rural landscapes by Dale William Nichols (1904-1995), gouache on paper, each showing a different season.
“That market, that sort of American scene, rural, 1930’s to 40’s, that’s one market I think is going to continue to get hotter and hotter,” Sikes said.
Three paintings from the collection of Arthur Andersen, whose accounting firm made headlines for its involvement in the Enron scandal, included a Pauline Lennards Palmer (1867-1938) oil on board portrait of a boy sitting on a bench with a large wine jug, signed, 24" x 19½". It sold for $10,800.
The painting was also significant for a less obvious reason, according to Sikes. There was a connection between it and Cowan’s current policy of not publishing its prices realized on AskART, the on-line international database of artists and their works. Some subscribers use the site to find prices for artwork they have an interest in purchasing.
“It sold to a dealer,” Sikes said of the Palmer painting. “That dealer would not have bid as aggressively if this had been posted on all those artist databases.”
Furniture in the auction was led by a French Louis XV-style commode, mahogany with a marble top and kingwood marquetry, that sold for $10,800, while American decorative arts were topped by a Rookwood Vellum landscape plaque by E.T. Hurley, 9" x 12", at $7800.
Among the Americana was a 19th-century folk-carved pine mirror frame depicting a figure holding up seven fingers, alluding to seven years of bad luck for the one who breaks a mirror. It brought $5700.
For more information, phone Cowan’s at (513) 871-1670 or visit (www.cowans auctions.com).
Marble sculpture of a nude by Alfred Boucher (French, 1850-1934), signed, 19¾" high, fine condition, $8400.
Portrait of a boy by Pauline Lennards Palmer (1867-1938), oil on board, signed, 20th century, 24" x 19½" (sight), Newcomb-Macklin frame, $10,800.
Summer Storm on the Narragansett Shore by William Trost Richards (1833-1905), oil on cradled panel, signed, 19th century, 9" x 15" (sight), a few spots of inpainting, $13,200.
Sketchbook of Joseph Hubert Diss Debar (1820-1905), 59 pages (one page shown) having more than 250 works in pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor, toning and foxing to some images, minor tears on some pages, $12,000.
Three rural landscapes (one shown) by Dale William Nichols (1904-1995), gouache on paper, A Place in the Sun (signed), The Farm in Winter (signed), and The Golden Grain (unsigned), each 5" x 7" plus matching mat and frame, $12,000.
Originally published in the March 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest