Bidders chased this circa 1890 primitive New England oil on tin sporting scene, 21" x 36", well past the $1000/1500 estimate to $5922.50.
String of 75 graduated natural pearls with a Tiffany 18k white gold clasp set with three European-cut diamonds, $143,750. Thomaston Place photo.
Oil on canvas by Sir John Lavery of Mrs. Walter Rosen’s Bedroom in a Heydenryk frame, $115,000.
This unsigned 17th-century oil on canvas, 30" x 26", of a woman in a black dress with frilly lace sleeves, collar, and bonnet, was unsigned and unattributed, but its age and primitiveness were enough to carry it well past the $2500/3500 estimate to $9200. An illegible wax seal on the stretcher suggested it was probably of English origin, but there was no irrefutable way to determine if the painting was English or American. Thomaston Place photo.
Oil on canvas ship portrait of the four-masted schooner Clifford N. Carver, signed front and back by S.F.M. Badger, $20,700.
Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Thomaston, Maine
Each day of Thomaston Place’s two-day auction on February 2 and 3 in Thomaston, Maine, was graced with its own $100,000-plus rock star. On the first day, it was a painting that brought the expected price. On the second, it was a piece of jewelry that came out of nowhere and went through the roof.
The top item for the first day, and the only one that day to top the $100,000 mark, was a 25" x 30" oil on canvas by Irish artist Sir John Lavery (1856-1941), signed lower right and identified on the reverse as “Mrs. Walter Rosen’s Bedroom/ By John Lavery/ New York/ 1926.” It depicted the lady of the house standing before a towering gilt mirror with a fire blazing in the fireplace. The frame was custom-designed by Heydenryk of New York. Lavery was a prolific and important artist, and his early influences included James Whistler, Edouard Manet, and Edgar Degas. The painting sold over the phone for $115,000 (includes buyer’s premium), just shy of the $125,000/150,000 estimate, well in keeping with what other similarly sized Lavery works have brought in the last few years. The “Mrs. Rosen” in the painting is almost certainly Lucie Rosen, who, along with her husband, was the original owner of the Caramoor estate in Katonah, New York, and cofounder of the Caramoor International Music Festival. Lucie Rosen was the mother of Anne Bigelow Stern, from whose estate the painting was consigned. “[Lavery] is like the John Singer Sargent of British Impressionists,” auctioneer Kaja Veilleux explained, “and this lady always had her frames custom-made to fit her pictures at the Heydenryk shop.”
The $115,000 mark was easily beaten on the second day by a string of 75 graduated natural pearls in a light ivory cream color with a Tiffany 18k white gold clasp set with three European-cut diamonds. Something about it turned it into pure gold, and it headed for the stratosphere. The $8000/12,000 estimate was completely ignored, and bidders chased it to an astonishing $143,750. “Tiffany didn’t hurt it,” auction manager Bob Grant confirmed later. “That alone was worth the estimate.” But he added, “We had the pearls x-rayed. The quality of the pearls is what really sold it. It was probably the finest set of matched natural pearls we’ve ever seen.”
Among the five-figure winners was a 9¾" x 19½" oil on canvas, Sunset Over Riverside Mansion. It was signed lower right “M. J. Heade,” but the catalog listed it as “attributed,” thereby casting some doubt as to the signature. It sold just over the low estimate for $10,350.
A 12¾" x 9¾" Flemish oil on copper portrait of the Madonna and Christ Child, 17th or 18th century, showed the Holy Mother and Infant surrounded by a semi-mythical menagerie, including a parrot, swans, a small white lion, an owl concealed in a tree trunk, and more. Other figures included an old man feeding his geese, and four shepherds tending their flock beneath a ministering angel. No artist was suggested, but it sailed past the $4000/6000 estimate by more than $10,000, ending at $16,100.
An oil on canvas ship portrait by Solon Francis Montecello Badger (1873-1919) of the four-masted schooner Clifford N. Carver under full sail passing the Highland Light, North Truro, Massachusetts, met its expected price. It was signed lower left, and on the back it read “S. F. M. Badger Charlestown Mass.” The 22" x 36" (sight size) painting came with a photo of the ship anchored near the Statue of Liberty and a newspaper clipping indicating that the Clifford Carver for whom she was named was once the president of the Penobscot Marine Museum, Sears-port, Maine. It sold squarely within the $18,000/22,000 estimate for $20,700. The Carver was built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, in 1900, and foundered on Tennessee Reef off the Florida Keys in February 1913.
For more information, visit (www.thomastonauction.com) or call (207) 354-8141.
This 18th-century carved Italian manger figure, about 16" tall, carved with wrapped swaddling clothes and painted in barber pole style with circling red bands, was estimated at $800/1200 but climbed up to $6325.
Flemish oil on copper portrait of the Madonna and Child seated amid a veritable zoo of allegorical creatures, $16,100. Thomaston Place photo.
Nobody wanted to hazard a guess as to who made this imposing Federal period breakfront secretary, 89½" tall x 65" wide. With five brass ball finials, including one topped by a spreadwing eagle, 13-light astragal glazed doors, an oval boxwood and rosewood inlaid center drawer panel, matching side door veneers, and raised panel backboards, it easily vanquished the $4000/8000 estimate and found a new home for $12,650. Thomaston Place purposely steered clear of a Seymour attribution and let the market decide for itself. Thomaston Place photo.
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2013 Maine Antique Digest