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Important American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture to Be Auctioned at Sotheby's New York
Winslow Homer’s Peach Blossoms. Estimate: $3/5 million. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- On 2 December, Sotheby’s auction of American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture in New York will offer works by important American artists and genres, spanning Impressionism, Modernism, 19th Century Paintings, American Illustration and Western Art. The sale is highlighted by paintings from Property from the Collection of Philip and Charlotte Hanes, led by Winslow Homer’s Peach Blossoms (est. $3/5 million*), and will be on exhibition beginning 27 November.

Property from the Collection of Philip and Charlotte Hanes
The December sale is led by works from the Collection of Philip and Charlotte Hanes. Mr. Hanes is a dedicated collector, philanthropist and business owner who began studying and collecting American art at a time when little had been written on the subject and few dealers specialized in American pictures. Mr. Hanes was a founding board member of the National Endowment for the Arts, and is a patron of a number of important charitable organizations.

The highlight of the Hanes Collection is Winslow Homer’s Peach Blossoms (picture top, est. $3/5 million). During the 1870s, Homer sought sentimental subjects and symbols of simplicity that would resonate with the public. His depictions of an idealized, rural America would later become among his signature works. Peach Blossoms features an elegantly dressed and contemplative young girl leaning against a crumbling stonewall at the onset of spring. A gust of wind from the coming storm ruffles her clothing, and hints at the turbulent inner emotions of a maturing adolescent.

The Collection of Philip and Charlotte Hanes also includes important portraiture. Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington is based on the artist’s iconic Athenaeum” portrait of Washington that he painted in 1796 (est. $250/350,000). Mrs. William Shaw Ward is an unfinished work that is typical of the uncompromising honesty of Thomas Eakins’s late portraiture (pictured right, est. $250/350,000). John Singer Sargent’s Gordon Greenough is a haunting and sculptural portrayal of the young artist Greenough, who met Sargent as a guest in the same Venetian home in the summer of 1880 (est. $150/250,000).

Impressionist works in the sale are led by Edmund C. Tarbell’s Child and Boat (est. $2/3 million). While Tarbell began his career painting seated portraits, it was not until his series of plein air works from the 1890s that he became one of the leading American painters of his day and head of the Boston School of artists. Child and Boat, which portrays the artist’s daughter Josephine on the shore of Cape Cod, stands out as one of the artist’s bolder experiments with abstraction. The sale also includes notable works by Childe Hassam: Rainy Day, New York is a fine example of the artist’s prevalent theme of rain-swept city streets (est. $500/700,000), while the pastel Hollyhocks, Isle of Shoals represents the last known iteration of his works inspired by the summer gardens of Celia Thaxter (est. $600/900,000).

19th Century Painting
Martin Johnson Heade maintained a life-long obsession with the hummingbird. In the late 1860s he planned to publish an album of chromolithographs documenting the numerous species he had recorded while in Brazil, which he hoped would have the same commercial success as Audubon’s The Birds of America. Unfortunately he failed to secure necessary funding for his Gems of Brazil, but was enormously successful with the original compositions. Hummingbirds and Apple Blossoms adheres to the same format and size as the popular Gems, but is distinctive because of its uniquely American subject matter: the Ruby-Throated hummingbird is one of only four species indigenous to North America, and the apple blossom branch in the foreground is set uniquely against a pastoral spring landscape (est.$800,000/1.2 million).

Modern Art
The December sale includes four works by Charles Burchfield, long recognized by critics and scholars as a groundbreaking modern artist. Burchfield was a pioneer of watercolor, which proved more spontaneous and easier to edit and correct than other mediums, and worked with a private lexicon of symbols. Main Street, Salem, Ohio was initially painted in 1917 during what the artist would later label his “Golden Year”–a prolific period of “pure” work done before outside influences or criticism had touched his art (pictured above, (est. $400/600,000). The heavy directional brushwork of the driving snow pictorializes the sensations of wet and cold and the sound of wind, producing a multisensory memory of Burchfield’s childhood in Salem. Blue Dome of June expands upon and incorporates an earlier work titled June Clouds, a technique often employed by the artist
(est. $250/350,000).

American Illustration
The sale offers works from different phases in Norman Rockwell’s career as an illustrator. Both Dreamboats and The Fighting Gillises (Willie Gillis’ Generations; Willie Gillis) are from his iconic Saturday Evening Post illustrations, depicting nostalgic vignettes of American life. Dreamboats shows two young women in a college dormitory fawning over publicity photographs of Robert Taylor and other of their celebrity crushes, apparently in violation of the dormitory regulations posted behind them (pictured right, (est. $800,000/1.2 million). The Fighting Gillises illustrates four enlisted generations of men in the family of Willie Gillis,, the fictional soldier that Rockwell created after the draft for World War II (est. $700,000/1 million).

Study for “The Problem We All Live With”
was painted after Rockwell ended his 47-year association with the Saturday Evening Post and shifted his artistic focus to more socially-conscious, politicized views of America in the 1960s (est.$150/250,000). The finished composition of The Problem We All Live With is one of the most widely reproduced and cited paintings of social consciousness in American art.

Western Art
The distilled simplicity and powerful imagery of William Robinson Lee’s large-scale compositions have made him one of the most popular western artists of the early-20th century. In The Great Spirit, a solitary Hopi Indian rests on the edge of a rocky outcrop, silhouetted against a vivid backdrop of sky and clouds (est. $800,000/1.2 million).The monumental work is infused with vivid colors, capturing the beauty and vastness of the West and the native people who influenced Lee’s work.

Sotheby's | Collection of Philip and Charlotte Hanes | Impressionism | Modernism | 19th Century Paintings |

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