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Important 19th century paintings emerge from a private collection in Ohio after more than a century
Eugene Verboeckhoven, A Shepherdess with her Flock. Est. $70/100,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that its 8 November 2012 auction of 19th Century European Art in New York will offer a group of six paintings formerly in the celebrated collection of self-made American businessman Obed J. Wilson, highlighted by William Bouguereau’s masterful La Branche de Cerisier (The Cherry Branch) from 1881 (est. $1.5/2 million). The painting’s location has been unknown since it was sold to “an American collector” in 1881, within months of leaving the artist’s studio. Obed Wilson, the purchaser, later donated it to the Twin Towers Senior Living Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, which he and his wife helped support and where it has remained on display since. The group of six works will be on view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 2 November and proceeds from their sale will benefit projects and operations at Twin Towers.

Born to a prominent Maine family who prized education, Obed J. Wilson moved to Cincinnati when he was 20 to begin teaching. He went on to join Winthrop B. Smith Co. as a travelling salesman of schoolbooks and was made senior partner following Mr. Smith’s retirement. The firm of Wilson, Hinkle & Company grew to be the largest publisher of schoolbooks in America. Wilson and his wife Amanda M. Landrum traveled the world together, and their shared interests allowed them to build an impressive art collection at their home in Clifton, a suburb of Cincinnati.

A noted philanthropist, Wilson donated to the Teacher’s Association and was instrumental in creating the “modern” public educational system in Cincinnati. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson also gave substantially to the 20-acre site for what would become the Twin Towers Senior Living Community. Once the center was finished circa 1908, the Wilsons donated their entire art collection where it has been on exhibition for the enjoyment of the residents.

“The Wilsons treasured both the Twin Towers community, which they generously supported throughout their lives, and their beautiful art collection,” says Jim Lay, Executive Director of Twin Towers. “Auctioning these pieces will ensure they are professionally preserved and treated with the level of care and respect the Wilsons would want, and using the proceeds from the sale of their paintings for future projects and operations at Twin Towers will honor their lifelong commitment to the residents.”

La Branche de Cerisier (The Cherry Branch) was produced at the very height of Bouguereau’s career in 1881 and was the pillar of Mr. and Mrs. Obed Wilson’s collection. Bouguereau appealed to American collectors who were interested in acquiring iconic compositions that showed a high level of quality and artistic virtuosity. La Branche de Cerisier (The Cherry Branch) is exactly the scale and sentiment that these collectors were looking for, and we can see through the financial records of Bouguereau’s dealers, Goupil & Cie. and Sécrétan & Co., that Obed Wilson paid a premium for the painting. The painting has been held in this distinguished private collection for over a century.

Further highlights of the collection include two paintings by Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau, an artist from New Hampshire who studied with Bouguereau in his Paris studio and who eventually became his wife. They include Before the Engagement (est. $70/100,000) and After the Engagement (est. $60/80,000).

• Eugene Verboeckhoven, A Shepherdess with her Flock. Estimate $70/100,000

• Cesare Detti, Venetian Court. Estimate $50/70,000

• Hugues Merle, A Girl in a Veil. Estimate $50/70,000

Twin Towers Senior Living Community
Twin Towers Senior Living Community offers accommodations and services for independent lifestyles, assisted living services, and short/long term nursing services. The campus is committed to enhancing adult lifestyles through a philosophy of whole-person wellness. Twin Towers, a Life Enriching Communities Campus, is affiliated with the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and welcomes people of all faiths.

Today's News

October 2, 2012

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Important 19th century paintings emerge from a private collection in Ohio after more than a century

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