James Buttersworth (1817-1894), New York Harbor, oil on academy board, 6½" x 8", sold for $24,000 (est. $20,000/30,000).
Along the Ghats, Mathura by Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903), oil on canvas, 25¾" x 32", had the room exploding with bidders. Six phone bidders jumped to their feet to fight for the painting, as well as some in-house bidders and one aggressive computer bidder who eventually won the painting for $97,200 (est. $40,000/60,000).
Joseph Sheppard (b. 1930), Orchard Street, Lower East Side, ca. 1959, oil on panel, 16" x 16", $3840 (est. $2000/3000).
Barridoff Galleries, Portland, Maine
by Hannah Pennington
Photos courtesy Barridoff Galleries
Edward Hopper, Edwin Lord Weeks, and Pablo Picasso—the Barridoff Galleries American and European art auction on October 24, 2012, boasted some impressive artwork. Held again at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine, there was a clear feeling of excitement in the room during the preview and the start of the auction.
A large collection of oils and watercolors by Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903) was offered, 38 in all. Most were consigned by Bernard Broder, who cited illness in the family as a reason for its sale. A portion of the proceeds from the Broder collection will be donated to HIV/AIDS-related charities.
According to Barridoff's Rob Elowitch, the Broder collection of Weeks artworks is what contributed to making this sale so memorable. "Dealers and collectors have all told us that we had pulled off something of a miracle. These had been lying around in trunks for years with little care. Some of the watercolors had tears, not noticeable in pictures, though; of course, they were mentioned in all our condition reports," he wrote in an e-mail.
Included in this collection was Florida Everglades with Great Blue Heron (formerly Landscape with Blue Heron), which sold for $31,200 (includes buyer's premium). According to Elowitch, that's a world record for a Florida painting by Weeks.
Another painting by Weeks, Along the Ghats, Mathura, had been consigned by the Portland Public Library. According to the catalog, Stephen J. Podgajny, executive director of the Portland Public Library, stated that the proceeds are to be used "to create the James Phinney Baxter Fund to support the purchase of art and to care for current works in the Library's collection." Along the Ghats, Mathura did well, selling for $97,200 (est. $40,000/60,000) after a boisterous battle among phone and Internet bidders. Elowitch said, "Major dealers and collectors from around the world were bidding on it."
Seventeen works by Weeks failed to find buyers. Except for two, the ones that didn't sell were described by Elowitch as unsigned, small, and sketchy. "We were not in a position to be selective. We were willing to try because much of the collection is very interesting, and there were a couple of real beauties. Nearly all the others went above estimates and many considerably above," said Elowitch.
The predicted big seller of the night, Edward Hopper's Tredwell's Folly, Monhegan, estimated at $200,000/300,000, failed to sell. "It's a terrific picture," Elowitch wrote in an e-mail.
The Hopper painting had been given to the consignor's grandfather, Alonzo "Doc" Tredwell, M.D., by Edward Hopper himself, as payment for medical treatment in 1919 when Hopper briefly lived on Monhegan Island, Maine. As explained in the catalog by Ruthie Tredwell, Doc's granddaughter: "It was not unusual at that time for artists to exchange painting for services or store goods. Doc got a great laugh out of Hopper's painting, and as soon as the piece was framed, it was hung on the wall." It stayed on the same wall until 2011, when she decided to consign it.
Another painting by Edward Hopper, a watercolor, A Scout, sold for $31,200, in line with the $25,000/35,000 estimate.
Other highlights included Rackstraw Downes's oil on canvas The Music Hall at Snug Harbor, House Lights Up that sold for $36,000 (est. $40,000/60,000), and Edwin Walter Dickinson's oil on canvas, La Cride, that also brought a five-figure price at $28,800 (est. $20,000/30,000).
Lots that failed to sell included Fairfield Porter's watercolor, Interior, Looking Out, The Artist's House in Maine (est. $60,000/90,000); a Stephen Scott Young watercolor Sunday on the Corner (est. $40,000/60,000); and an Emile Gruppe oil on canvas, Mending the Nets (est. $20,000/30,000).
On the whole, it was a successful night for Barridoff Galleries and those who attended. Barridoff will hold another auction in April at the same location, date to be announced. When asked what was in store for that one, Elowitch mentioned a large (24" x 36") Colin Campbell pastel "of the capitol building in New York with period cars and ladies and gentlemen in handsome period garb."
For more information, contact Barridoff Galleries at (207) 772-5011 or see the Web site (www.barridoff.com).
Edwin Lord Weeks, Florida Everglades with Great Blue Heron (formerly Landscape with Blue Heron), oil on canvas, 24" x 34", $31,200 (est. $25,000/35,000).
Edwin Lord Weeks, Arab Market, watercolor, 20" x 14", $12,480 (est. $5000/7000).
William Matthew Prior (1806-1873), Child with Red Shoes, oil on canvas, 24" x 19", $10,560 (est. $6000/9000).
Micah Williams (1782-1837), Portrait of a Gentleman, pastel, 25½" x 22", $24,000 (est. $6000/9000).
Julian Stanczak (b. 1928), River Styx, oil on canvas, 54" x 64", $30,000 (est. $15,000/20,000).
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2012 Maine Antique Digest