Americana and Decorative Art at Eldred's

November 21st, 2013

The top lot of the three-day auction was this striking Dutch portrait of a gentleman. It was attributed to Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck (Dutch, c. 1594-1662). The painting was signed middle right “Aetatis 59. 1653 Johan Verspronck.” There was a paper label affixed to the reverse of the frame at the upper left. This oil on panel measured 35" x 28" and was framed. The portrait had a modest presale estimate of $6000/9000, but interest from the phones and floor pushed the price to $330,400 from a buyer at the sale. The underbidder was also at the sale.

A buyer on the telephone bought this Phila- delphia walnut Chippen- dale chest-on-chest, circa 1780. It was ex-Bernard and S. Dean Levy and had sold at Christie’s in 1987 for $41,800. The upper case has a removable cornice with a broken arch. The lower case has carved fluted quarter columns flanking two narrow drawers over two full drawers and bold ogee bracket feet. It retains the original hardware. Estimated at a modest $10,000/15,000, it brought $30,680.

Robert C. Eldred Co., Inc., East Dennis, Massachusetts

Photos courtesy Eldred’s

Eldred’s Americana and decorative art sale held November 21-23, 2013, in East Dennis, Massachusetts, was “strong across the board,” according to an auction house representative just prior to day three of the auction.

The big winner at this auction, and a great surprise, was a striking portrait of a seated gentleman attributed to Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck (Dutch, c. 1594-1662). Eldred’s opted for a modest presale estimate of $6000/9000. When the painting came up for sale, two bidders in the hall battled it out until the painting sold for $330,400 (includes buyer’s premium).

An oil on panel, it was signed middle right “Aetatis 59, 1653 Johan Verspronck.” A paper label affixed to the reverse of the frame featured a crest and read “Marie-Thérèse Ctesse de la Béraudière.” It was exhibited in Dutch Painting of the Seventeenth Century at the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design; a label read “Museum RISD A70.38.” The provenance included Van den Benden, Brussels, and the Countess de la Béraudière, Paris. It was included in the sale of Countess de la Béraudièrè’s property at Anderson Galleries in New York in 1930.

There are always some wonderful decoys offered at Eldred’s. A rare miniature yellowlegs by A. Elmer Crowell of East Harwich, Massachusetts, mounted on a scallop shell-form base, was inscribed on the base “To my wife Betty/ Elmer Crowell Cape Cod/ 1929.” It had an estimate of $3000/5000, and the little bird sold for $5900. Another Crowell offered was a life-size decorative robin that dated from 1930. It had glass eyes, and, in the words of the catalog, had “exceptional painted feather detail” and a rectangular stamp; it sold for $6490.

A collection of American Classical furniture, part of the Harry Isaacs collection at Long Branch, Virginia, was found by Bill Bourne, Eldred’s assistant vice president. According to notes from the Eldred’s catalog, Isaacs collected “only the best” in furniture and decorative arts, which he purchased from Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Israel Sack, Inc., and Joe Kindig Jr.

For more information, contact Eldred’s at (508) 385-3116 or via the Web site (

This Cubist Modernist painting by Kenneth Stubbs (1907-1967) is a view of Corn Hill, Truro, Massachusetts. The house and barn overlook Provincetown harbor. It was signed on the lower right “Kenneth Stubbs, 1962.” This framed oil on canvas, 15" x 24", was done in tones of peach, brown, green, and gray. It opened with a $4500 left bid, and with lots of activity from the phones and the floor, it sold for $16,520, far surpassing the $5000/7000 presale estimate.

This exquisitely detailed 16" x 23" framed oil on canvas was entitled Petit Savoyard dejeunent sous une porte (Young Savoyard Eating under a Door). It was signed on the lower right “P.A.J. Dagnan—B. Paris 1877.”  It had been published in Against the Modern: Dagnan-Bouveret and the Transformation of the Academic Tradition by Gabriel P. Weisberg. The painting had been found in a private collection in Connecticut. According to catalog notes, Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (French, 1852-1929) was one of the leading French artists of the naturalist school. It had a healthy presale estimate of $120,000/150,000 and sold quickly for $123,900.

Ross Moffett (1888-1971) came to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to study with Charles Hawthorne. He made Provincetown his home. This painting, Hauling Driftwood 1931, was signed on the lower left “Moffett.” This wintry scene, an oil on canvas, had been mounted on a board and measured 20" x 30". It opened with a solid $15,000 absentee bid and ultimately sold to the phone for $27,140.

This life-size decorative carved kingfisher, dating from around 1930, was carved by Cape Cod’s own A. Elmer Crowell, East Harwich, Massachusetts. The kingfisher has glass eyes and is holding a carved fish in his bill. It is mounted on a painted rock-form wooden base and opened with an $11,000 bid. Bidding quickly escalated to $18,880 (est. $10,000/12,000).

A buyer on the phone won the pair of Sheraton card tables, Salem, Massachusetts, circa 1800. The tables were mahogany with figured veneered skirts and serpentine fronts and sides. The tables had an Israel Sack provenance and had sold at Sotheby’s in January 1987 for $41,800, They came to Eldred’s from the Isaacs collection. The pairsold to a phone bidder for $17,700 (est. $7000/10,000).

This 18th-century English bracket clock, from the Isaacs collection, was made by Eardley Norton of London. With a fusee movement, brass feet, and burnished steel dial, the clock had a presale estimate of $6000/9000. Interest from the phone pushed the price to $15,340.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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