On Sunday, June 3, Freemans
will host the first of its bi-annual American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auctions. The 145 lot sale features works of art by renowned American painters John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872), William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941) and Childe Hassam (1859-1935), as well as Pennsylvania artists Fern Isabel Coppedge (1883-1951), Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965) and Daniel Garber (1880-1958). Works by two generations of Wyeths (Andrew, 1917-2009, and Jamie, b. 1946) will also be offered, along with over a dozen paintings by Arthur Beecher Carles (1882-1952), which come from the collection of June and Perry Ottenberg, Philadelphians and patrons of many of the citys most important fine artists.
A highlight of the sale is Interior with Two Nudes by William McGregor Paxton (Lot 54, estimate $100,000-150,000). A leading member of the Boston School during the first quarter of the 20th century, Paxton utilized a painting method which he termed binocular vision, in which the central area of the composition was sharply defined, in contrast with the slightly blurred background. Interior with Two Nudes is the most significant work of a series of nudes the artist created in 1930, and was the recipient of the Popular Prize at the Corcoran Biennial in 1931.
Another highlight, New Center Bridge by Edward Willis Redfield (Lot 123, estimate $100,000-150,000), will be offered in the Pennsylvania Impressionists portion of the sale. As a plein-air artist, Redfield would often travel to the town of Center Bridge, in Bucks County, trudging through the snow to set up a canvas or strapping one to a tree in order to capture the landscape around him with his vigorously bold brushwork and rich impasto. The present winter scene depicts the New Center Bridge, which was completed in 1926 and built upon the remaining piers and abutments of the original bridge that was destroyed by the fire of 1923.
John Frederick Kensetts Spouting Rock Beach, Newport, (Lot 12, estimate $60,000-100,000), was recently rediscovered and authenticated, and will enter the catalogue raisonné of Kensetts work as one of the artists earliest and key Newport subject paintings. A superb example of the artists ability to capture the wind and mist of a cloudy day on the beach, the painting depicts an iconic subject matter, masterfully conceived and executed and fully manifesting Kensetts intimate, new and evolving artistic vision which has come to be known as Luminism.
The auction features five paintings by Fern Isabel Coppedge, arguably one of the most significant female artists in the Pennsylvania Impressionists school. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts invited her to exhibit her work as part of their annual exhibition in 1917. Coppedges snow-covered landscapes are among her best work, easily identifiable by their cool-hued and expertly rendered depictions of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania towns along the Delaware River. Three of the paintings to be auctioned, including The Road to Lumberville (Lot 114, estimate $50,000-80,000), Winter in Point Pleasant (Lot 137, estimate $20,000-30,000) and Snow and Sunshine (Lot 138, estimate $60,000-100,000) follow this much beloved theme. The remaining two paintings, Fishing Boats Gloucester (Lot 99, estimate $15,000-25,000) and Gloucester Harbor (Lot 145, estimate $25,000-40,000), depict the New England port town where the artist spent many summers, capturing the effects of the changing light on the surface of the water.
From the Ottenberg Collection are more than a dozen works by Philadelphia native Arthur B. Carles. Born in Philadelphia in 1882, Carles studied at PAFA for a total of six-and-a-half years, where he received two Cresson Travel Scholarships which allowed him to travel to Europe. It was in Paris that Carles was introduced to the then-new movement of modern art, particularly the work of Henri Matisse. Among the highlights are Portrait of Caroline Robinson Carles, (Lot 91, estimate $20,000-30,000), of the artists second wife, executed in 1924, and Autumn Bouquet (Lot 95, estimate $20,000-30,000), displayed in a Harer frame. Also to be offered are several nudes and vividly colored landscapes, themes Carles returned to frequently.
Additional highlights include Commodore Alonzo Treadwell III by Jamie Wyeth (Lot 77, estimate $50,000-80,000), depicting the home of Dr. Alonzo Tredwell on Monhegan Island in 1907. Entitled Four Winds, the property was adjacent to the piece of land that Rockwell Kent had purchased for his mother. Two works by Philadelphian Thomas Eakins feature early in the sale: Study for the Portrait of Mrs. Charles L. Leonard (Lot 18, estimate $15,000-25,000) the wife of the Philadelphia physician and noted X-ray pioneer and specialist, Dr. Charles Lester Leonard; and Woman in Shade (Arcadian Study) (Lot 19, estimate $15,000-25,000), depicting a young woman in profile.
Were excited about the depth and breadth of the works in this sale, Alasdair Nichol, Chairman and American Art Department Head said. I am particularly pleased to have the Carles works from the Ottenberg Collection in the auction. He is an artist whom I have always held in high regard and whose contribution to modern American Art is still undervalued. With major works by several marquee names in American Art, specifically those local to Pennsylvania, we anticipate a successful Sunday afternoon.
Freemans American Art Department specialists have established an international reputation for the successful sale of oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and illustrations by American artists. Freemans has sold more works by the Pennsylvania Impressionists than any other auction house, and are also the only auction house to have sales dedicated to this exciting collecting area.
A public exhibition will precede the sale, both to be held at Freemans Philadelphia headquarters at 1808 Chestnut Street.