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Snowy winter landscape scene by Walter Launt Palmer soars to $132,000
The painting was the top achiever of 315 artworks offered in a sale that grossed $2.1 million.

MILFORD, CONN.- A sun-dappled winter landscape painting showing a snow covered brook by Walter Launt Palmer (Am., 1854-1932) titled Winter Shadows, rose to $132,000 at Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers’ fall auction held Oct. 23rd in Shannon’s gallery located in Milford.

The Palmer work was expected to do well, with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000. Palmer’s landscapes (and especially his snow scenes) were popular prizewinners throughout a career that began when the artist was still in his teens. Born in Albany, N.Y., to a sculptor father, Palmer studied under portraitist Charles Elliott and Hudson River School landscapist Frederic Church.

The auction had something for just about every taste and genre, and included paintings from a 500-year span in European and American art. Offered were examples from the Hudson River School, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Also Modern paintings, American Impressionism, African-American artworks, regional painting and special offerings.

“No one category was dominant in this sale, but all brought surprisingly high or strong prices,” said Gene Shannon of Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers. “Thanks to internet bidding, we enjoyed tremendous participation throughout all of Europe, as well as the Philippines, Russia, Mexico and elsewhere. I’d say this auction represented a vote of confidence for today’s fine art market.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 20 percent buyer’s premium. Internet bidding was facilitated by Phone and absentee bids were also taken.

A painting by the African-American artist Hughie Lee-Smith (1915-1999), titled Rooftop and a wonderful representation of what Lee-Smith was renowned for – figural renderings in a desolate urban setting – soared to $50,400. Also, a painting by Thomas Waterman Wood (Am., 1823-1903), titled The Kitten, sold to a major American museum for $48,000. Wood was one of America’s first artists to find the black male a suitable subject for portrait and genre painting in the post-Civil War era.

Three works by America’s preeminent photorealist painter, Richard Estes (b. 1932), came up for bid, with Brooklyn Bridge, a precise depiction of that New York City landmark, hitting $48,000. Estes says his paintings have no hidden meaning, special messages or stories to tell. By using his own photos he neutralizes his own point of view, making his art more open-ended for the viewer.

Blanche Lazzell (Am., 1878-1956) is known for her woodblock prints executed in Provincetown, Mass. The sale contained 13 pieces by her, consigned by members of her family. Two original wooden blocks, upon which she incised images to be pressed on paper, were sold: a double-sided block ($21,600) and a single-sided block ($19,200). A woodblock print titled The Little Church, one of only two printed, brought $31,200, while two paintings garnered $24,000 and $19,200.

Bidders were treated to many fine examples of American 19th century landscape and coastal views. A breathtaking rendering by William Louis Sonntag, Sr. (N.Y., 1869-1898), titled Mountain Lake Autumn, 1864, hammered for $33,600; and a mill scene with figures by the German-born American artist Hermann Herzog (1832-1932), titled By the Mill, made $26,400.

A craggy coastline scene with sailing ships in the distance, painted by Alfred Thompson Bricher (N.Y./N.H., 1837-1908), titled Brandith Head, Grand Manan, went for $22,800; and a stunning coastline rendering of sailboats navigating choppy waters near shore by Dutch-born New York City artist Mauritz Frederik Hendrick De Haas (1832-1895), titled Port Tack, realized $21,600.

Connecticut artist Eric Sloane (1905-1985) has become a perennial favorite at Shannon’s. Four of his paintings were in the auction, with prices ranging from $5,100 (for an Alpine ski scene) to $26,400 (for a quintessential depiction of barns in the snow, titled Berkshire Snow). Other notable American artists in the auction included Edward Moran, David Johnson and Asher B. Durand.

Paintings from the estate of Andew Petryn, a long-time restorer for Yale University’s Old Master collection, were a big hit. Highlights included an Italian School rendering Madonna and Child, possibly 15th/16th century ($72,000); an untitled German School painting, possibly 16th century ($45,000); and an Italian School work, The Annunciation, possibly 14th/15th century ($31,200).

European and non-American artworks were led by the legendary Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo (1892-1972). His painting The Water Girl (1939) sold for $72,000. Also, a painting of a ballerina by Russian-born California artist Grigory Gluckmann (1898-1973), Emerald Toe Shoes, reached $50,400.

Gerald Laing (1936-2011) was one of Great Britain’s best-known pop artists of the 1960s. His stylized rendering of screen siren Jean Harlow, titled A Friend of my Mother’s, Jean Harlow, finished at $50,000. And what would a fine art auction be without Pablo Picasso? His signed and numbered (57/80) aquatint titled Tete de Femme No. 4, Portrait of Dora Maar, went for $36,000. One of this edition is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A visually arresting still life by the German artist Johann Wilhelm Preyer (1803-1889), titled Still Life with Champagne Flute, went to a determined bidder for $36,000; while depiction of a Venetian Canal, with figures in a gondola, by Martin Rico y Ortega (1833-1908), a Spanish-born painter who split his time between Spain, Italy and France, commanded $31,200.

Eugenio Zampighi (It., 1859-1944) became one of the leading genre painters in all of Italy. His painting in the auction titled The Monk’s Lesson, showing a monk holding court to an enthralled audience, rose to $26,400. Also, a painting by French artist Jules Veyrassat (1828-1893), titled The Hay Cart and depicting a group of farmers seeing along a horse-drawn hay cart, hit $18,000.

Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers’ next big fine art auction will be held April 23rd, also in the Milford gallery (the firm conducts two major auctions a year, one in April and one in October). Already consigned for April is a painting by Francis Coates Jones (Am./Fr., 1857-1932).

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