A combination Regina tall clock and music box, with the disc-playing mechanism concealed in the base, brought $8250, the top price of the auction.
In red paint and with iron hardware, this country store cabinet with the original owner's terms clearly painted on the doors sold for $575.
Charles M. Talbot Associates, Turner, Maine
by Mark Sisco
One of the nice things about writing up the Charles M. Talbot Associates auction that took place August 14 in Turner, Maine, is that I can do it without a pocket calculator at my elbow. There's no need to figure out what 15% of $175 is. When you bid $175, you pay $175. As auctioneer Dale Talbot likes to put it, "There's no buyer's penalty here!" He generated a spontaneous eruption of applause when he announced that this sale would continue the tradition.
A large mural in oil paint by heretofore virtually unknown Portland, Maine, artist Ralph Linwood Frizzell (1909-1943) was one of the eye-catching centerpieces of the sale. It portrayed a quiet working harbor cove with a white-steepled church in the background and two sailboats at the docks and sold for $2400. Frizzell gained a measure of recognition in January this year, when two of his Depression-era murals were removed from Portland's Nathan Clifford Elementary School, which was closed, and sent to Boston for conservation. The plan was to reinstall them in Portland's new Ocean Avenue Elementary School in February. Frizzell made those paintings, and probably this one as well, around 1940.
According to Maine historian Herb Adams, as quoted in a January Portland Press Herald article, "Frizzell was an excellent craftsman and a good example of New Deal art...[He] was a dashing, somewhat Bohemian figure, a dapper dresser who wore a real artist beret, lived in his studio, and flirted with socialism...Sadly, Frizzell died young, in his 30s, in 1943 while working as a clerk in the South Portland shipyards."
The Roosevelt administration created the Works Progress Administration during the Depression, and Frizzell was one of thousands of artists put to work as a result. As auctioneer James Talbot explained further, "None of his [Frizzell's] stuff has ever come to the market...Waldo Peirce was a mentor of his. He was just getting going, and then he dies."
The artwork of Delbert Dana Coombs (1850-1938) of Lisbon Falls, Maine, is better known. He was also known as D.D. Coombs, a.k.a. "The Cow Man." That nickname may be a bit of a misnomer. Although Coombs did produce a large number of cow paintings, most of his works are pastoral landscapes sans bovines. Here a roughly 14" x 24" oil on canvas, showing a split-rail fence encircling a pasture with purple mountain majesties towering in the background, sold for $2400. Shortly thereafter came a pastoral portrait more in keeping with the Cow Man appellation. It shows a trio of milk cows and brought $3500.
Top money at this auction was for a rare tall clock made by Regina with a disc-playing music box in the base. It sold for $8250. I wasn't able to determine how much of either mechanism was in working order, but according to underbidder David Turner of Sebago Lake, Maine, Regina was the maker of the clock and the music box. Incidentally, Turner was the buyer of the Frizzell mural.
For more information, call (207) 225-3797 or visit the Web site (www.ctaauctions.com).
A straight and straightforward pine pie safe with wooden pulls and six matching pierced tin panels with diamond and circle designs sold for $750.
A large double-door cupboard in worn blue paint with an open shelf below, two double paneled doors above, and wooden latches and knobs brought $1350.
This mural, painted in oils, is by Ralph Linwood Frizzell (1909-1943) of Portland, Maine. The scene of a quiet cove harbor brought $2400.
This pine barrel-back corner cupboard with a blue-painted interior, double raised-panel doors, and two cutout shelves sold for $950.
At this sale there were two paintings in oil on canvas by Delbert Dana Coombs. Top, a pastoral mountain scene, about 14" x 24", sold for $2400; bottom, some of his favorite subjects brought $3500.
John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) gained a national reputation for his paintings and lithographs of rural people in the throes of dire weather such as tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. This signed lithograph, Mississippi Noah, shows a family perched on the roof of their flooded home, praying for their deliverance. It was first produced in 1932, and here it sold for $4250.