Chamberlain Collage Brings $72,000

June 4th, 2017

Tremont Auctions, Newton, Massachusetts

Not quite two years old, Tremont Auctions, Newton, Massachusetts, knows how to put together a winning sale with few if any passes and a large percentage of lots selling above estimates, some well above estimates. The June 4 sale in the gallery drew a good crowd willing to pay whatever it took.

The top lot of the sale was a 1962 mixed-media collage by American sculptor John Angus Chamberlain (1927-2011). The signed and dated painted paper and metal collage on fiberboard was estimated at $6000/9000 and sold for $72,000 (includes buyer’s premium) to a dealer in the gallery. It had been in the collection of J. Daniel Weitzman.

Star of the day was a 1962 mixed-media collage by American sculptor John Angus Chamberlain (1927-2011) that is signed and dated. Estimated at $6000/9000, it sold for $72,000 to a dealer in the gallery. The collage is made of painted paper and metal stapled onto fiberboard. It had been part of the collection of New York investor and collector J. Daniel Weitzman, who acquired it from the Leo Castelli gallery, where Chamberlain’s work was exhibited regularly throughout the 1960s and ’70s.

More artwork that did well included two oils on canvas by Boston-born New York artist George Henry Hall (1825-1913). A 28" x 20" still life with pale pink flowers, signed and dated “1888, Palenville,” was in a once-handsome frame that needed serious work. It realized $16,800 (est. $3000/5000) from a phone bidder. Hall’s 12" x 16" still life with fruit was signed and dated 1892-99. The 1892 rendition of the painting included a jar; the artist later painted out the jar and dated the work 1899. It came from the same collection as the Hall floral still life and went to another phone bidder for $4800.

Model for Sky Covenant, a black-painted wood construction by Russian-born sculptor Louise Nevelson (1899-1988), retained a label from Pace Gallery. It sold on the phone for $16,800 (est. $15,000/18,000).

San Vito, a 1958 oil on canvas painting, 27" x 19", by American abstract artist Emerson Woelffer (1914-2003), was highly desired by more than one bidder, and it was pushed to $9600 (est. $300/500).

Six phones chased Fossil Series 1962 3001 BC, an oil and sand on canvas painting by Enrico Donati (1909-2008), a Milan-born Italian/American artist who was known as the last of the Surrealists. Estimated at $1500/2000, the painting came from the Weitzman collection, and it sold for $5760 to a phone bidder.

Red Percussion, this three-dimensional painting on plywood, 48" x 33", is signed and dated “Ramírez 60” on the back and retains a label from the David Herbert Gallery. Estimated at $200/300, it sold for $28,800. Ramírez was Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1922-2004), who worked in his native Colombia, Spain, and New York. The price is among the highest for the artist. The painting came from the J. Daniel Weitzman collection and went to an area dealer.

This marble bust by Florentine sculptor Ferdinando Vichi (1875-1945), with its original variegated marble pedestal, came from a local collection and sold for $6000 (est. $2500/3500).

Hundreds of photographs and documents, including five Cecil Beaton photographs of such sitters as Mme. Édouard Bourdet, Edith Sitwell, and Mary Taylor, among others, and photographs by Richard F. Dober, were contained in five boxes from a Cambridge house. Estimated at $200/300, the group sold on the phone for $4080.

An original 3½" x 5¾" illustration of the character Curious George for Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys by Hans Augusto Rey (1898-1977) and Margret Rey (1906-1996) brought $1440 (est. $300/500). Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys was first published in 1939 in French under a slightly different title. It was published in English in 1942 and was the first of the Reys’ series of books about Curious George. The drawing came from the Reys’ editor at Houghton Mifflin, who had acquired it from an illustration dealer in Boston.

This pair of 21¼" x 13 5/8" Italian oil on canvas landscape paintings after Francesco Guardi came from a Nebraska collection and sold for $4080 (est. $500/800). Each painting retains a label from the Bobbitt Moulding and Frame Company in Omaha and a paper label that reads “Made in Italy.”

A Goyard steamer trunk made of canvas, leather, wood, and brass, with the original key and railroad shipping labels, sold on the phone for $3840. A Louis Vuitton steamer trunk realized $6600.

Tremont produced some appetizing mid-century modern furniture that pleased bidders. Two Hans Wegner “steer horn” chairs, teak, rosewood, and leather, made by Johannes Hansen of Copenhagen, were estimated at $800/1200 and brought $7800 from an Internet bidder. A Danish rosewood dining table, circa 1970, labeled “Skouby,” with two leaves and ten chairs brought $3600 (est. $800/1500) online.

An 18th-century mid-Atlantic Hepplewhite mahogany tambour roll-top desk with a pull-out slide and adjustable writing stand, ten interior drawers, and five drawers on the base sold online for $600 (est. $800/1200).

This 20th-century Republic period Chinese famille rose porcelain vase, 6½" high, is decorated with European figures in a landscape, a poem, seals, and a blue Chinese mark. Estimated at $300/500, it realized $26,400 from a Chinese bidder in the gallery. The vase came from the collection of Dr. Jesse Greenberg. Tremont Auctions photo.

This 32" high pair of Georgian giltwood sconces, circa 1730, has carved Guanyin and Guardian figures, mirrors that are reverse painted with figures, and iron candle brackets. They sold on the phone for $15,600 (est. $5000/7000). They had been poorly restored in the 1960s but retain original elements. They are headed to Ireland. Tremont Auctions photo.

This heavy Georgian silver champagne urn, 119.275 troy ounces, made by William Pitts of London bears his mark and is marked for 1803-04. The design includes ram-head handles, garlands of grapes, heraldic crests, and the inscription “Sic Fidem Teneo” (Thus I keep faith). The 10¾" high x 10" diameter urn brought $10,200 (est. $4000/6000). Tremont Auctions photo.

This set of 14 Cauldon porcelain herpetological soup bowls painted with various turtles by Joseph Birbeck and retailed by Davis Collamore & Co., Ltd. of New York sold on the phone for $8400 (est. $800/1200). The plates had belonged to industrialist Frederick Coolidge Crawford.

Three lots of Baccarat crystal stemware in the 1899 Marennes pattern, comprising 13 water goblets, 13 wine glasses, and 12 claret wine glasses, brought an aggregate total of $4800. A set of 13 Marennes pattern finger bowls, 2½" high x 5" diameter, and a set of 13 Marennes finger bowl undertrays, 7½" diameter, realized a total of $4440. The Baccarat lots came from the collection of New Jersey physician Jesse Greenberg and his life partner, William Faraminian, who split their time between New Jersey and an apartment on Sutton Place in New York City.

Tremont’s next sale is set for October when the century-old Smith collection of Asian art and objects from the Framingham History Center goes on the block.

For more information, call (617) 795-1678 or visit the website (

This 14½" x 20" watercolor landscape, The Creek on Flood, a South Carolina bayou scene by Charleston Renaissance artist Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876-1958), brought $16,800 (est. $3000/5000). From a Lincoln, Massachusetts, collection, it is headed back to a Charleston-area collection.

This pair of Italian mosaic panels, each 5¾" x 8¼", from about 1890 brought $4800 (est. $250/500). One depicts a panther in a landscape; the other shows a dog in a landscape.

This 1958 Surrealist watercolor, Primeval Landscape, 17½" x 24", by William Baziotes (1912-1963) sold on the phone for $25,200 (est. $800/1200). The painting attracted high interest from phone bidders, including one from Greece. It was from the J. Daniel Weitzman collection.

This watercolor view depicting the Old Mission in Santa Barbara, California, 12" x 21", by Livonia, New York-born artist Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894) brought $7200 (est. $1200/1800) from a phone bidder. After service in the Civil War, during which Ford illustrated military events, he lived in Chicago, where he helped found the Academy of Design and served as its first president. Later Ford settled in Santa Barbara. From there he traveled by horse and buggy to paint each of the 21 Spanish missions, which he published in his 1883 Etchings of the Franciscan Missions of California. Theywere exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Originally published in the August 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest

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