NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams
New Yorks December 2nd American Paintings sale will be marked by the offering of a number of distinguished private collections as well as rare and exceptional paintings, many drawing their inspiration from the South.
Of the over 100 lots to be presented, undoubtedly one of the most sought after will be a work by Norman Rockwell. Titled, The Crossword Puzzle (it is a quintessential Rockwell piece and clearly bears the hallmarks of the artists style. The painting was used for the cover illustration of the Saturday Evening Post in January of 1925 and addresses the then nascent boom of the crossword puzzle in America. The painting was acquired directly from the artist around 1928 and has remained with the family until this offering. Its presale estimate is $400,000-600,000.
A notable Florida landscape by Herman Herzog is also expected to draw serious collector attention. The German born artist traveled extensively, painting both European and American views, with his early depictions of the California and Florida landscapes being amongst his most popular works. The picture depicts two deer in the setting of lush, virgin Florida woodlands. Estimated at $100,000-150,000 the idyllic scene reminds the viewer of the beauty of the land prior to amusement parks and condos.
Also of great interest is a bronze statue by Paul Howard Manship titled Dancer and Gazelles. One of the highlights of Manship's 1916 single artist showing at the Berlin Photographic Gallery in New York, it was originally cast in a sixty-seven inch, life-size edition of which two were produced and are now in the collection of the Corcoran Gallery and the Toledo Museum. The present thirty-five inch cast is one of an edition of twelve and one of the few in private hands. Signed and dated 'Paul Manship/ ©1916' and inscribed 'Roman Bronze Works NY', the lot is estimated at $150,000-250,000.
Certain to attract heavy bidding is a 1905 work by Thomas Moran titled The Grand Canal, Venice. Moran is best known for his depictions of the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but he was also influenced by the British artist J.M.W Turners Venetian canvases. He made his first trip to the city in 1886 and returned there in 1890. His Venetian views were popular with the public and he continued to paint them after his arrival back home. Estimated at $100,000-150,000, the painting is signed and dated 'TMoran. 1905.'
Three rare works by South Carolinian Alice Ravenel Huger Smith come from a Western institution. One of the leading artists of the Charleston Renaissance, Smith was known for her landscape and genre paintings. Largely self-taught she learned by observing prints of the Japanese Ukiyo-e school and did numerous woodblock prints using the same principles. This influence can easily be seen in the works to be offered- perhaps most exemplary in Smiths Snowy Egrets in Tree. Depicting the bird that is both symbolic of the south as well as a prominent character in Japanese art, the vibrant and otherworldly painting carries an estimate of $30,000-50,000.
From Atlanta, Georgia comes the prominent collection of Dr. John B. Oliver. His lifelong interest in the arts evolved to include American paintings and antique furniture, leading him to pursue his PhD in History from Duke University. He went on to become a professor within the University System of Georgia where he taught for many years, all the while building his collection. The offerings from his collection contain 27 works with including canvases by William Glackens, Jasper Cropsey and Julian Alden Weir. He showed a particular interest in tonalism with works by Dwight Tryon, Arthur Hoeber and George Inness.
Also from Atlanta, Georgia are three works from the collection of the Russell Athletics Corporation, including Theodore Butlers painting titled Hunters Rest, Giverny. Butler was one of the many Americans drawn to the artist colony formed around Claude Monets studio. He was apparently quite close to the master as he married not one, but two of Monets stepdaughters. The large canvas depicts two hunters and their dog at rest under a tree and is estimated at $40,000-60,000.