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Queens of the Western Ocean reign at Bonhams New York
Samuel Walters (British, 1811-1882), circa 1840 The packet ship Fanchon of the Black Star Line, 24 x 36 in. (60.9 x 91.4 cm.) Sold $100,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
NEW YORK, NY.- The Alfred I Gold Collection of Maritime Paintings sailed to success at Bonhams Important Maritime Paintings and Decorative Arts sale on January 24. Affectionately known as “Fritz,” Gold focused on ship portraiture related to the Liverpool-New York trade of the mid-1800s, referred to as “Queens of the Western Ocean.” The collection of 16 exceptional canvases was an impressive 94% sold by lot, led by James Edward Buttersworth composition, Schooners from the New York Yacht Club Racing in the Narrows, which sold for $106,250. Additional highlights included The Packet Ship Fanchon of the Black Star Line by Samuel Walters, which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to reach $100,000. Fine examples from Joseph Heard and John Hughes were also well received.

Gregg Dietrich, Bonhams Maritime Consultant, reflected on the collection’s success: “Fritz Gold had a passion for maritime history, as well as a discerning eye for artistic quality. The market was very responsive because his sophisticated approach and extensive knowledge were evident in every painting on offer. He was a true connoisseur and an important member of the maritime art community. It was an honor to handle the collection.”

Bidders from more than a dozen countries participated in the auction. Attendees filled the Madison Avenue saleroom while interest from abroad came via the telephones and live online. Telephone bidders took home the majority of the top lots, with notable exceptions going to those in the room. The sale’s 147 lots were 91% sold by value, realizing more than $2 million in total.

Shipping off Birkenhead by Robert Salmon was the auction’s top lot, bringing $221,000. Other highlights of note included James Edward Buttersworth’s The American clipper ship Flying Cloud, Scudding in a Gale of Wind off cape Horn, which sold for $185,000, and a strong selection of paintings by Montague Dawson, such as Sunset Glow, which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate to reach $93,750.

Bonhams next Maritime Paintings sale in New York will take place in June.

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