A large-format oil on canvas painting by Dale Nichols (Am., 1904-1995), titled Mid-Nation Winter, sold for $120,000 a new record price for the artist at auction at a Fine Art Auction held May 4th by Shannons Fine Art Auctioneers
, online and in the gallery at 354 Woodmont Road in Milford. The work dated to a key period in Nichols successful career.
The 30 inch by 40 inch painting, executed by Nichols in 1967, soared past its pre-sale estimate to finish in the six figures, shattering previous records. The work depicted a red barn in a bold and vivid snowy setting. It was in fabulous condition, which drove up the price. Nichols was a Nebraska-born Regionalist painter.
Overall it was a strong night for Regionalism. An oil painting by Daniel Celentano (Am., 1902-1980), another Regionalist, titled The Potato Pickers (Homage,) achieved the second-highest price ever for the artist, at $24,000. Shannons holds the record high price for a Celentano work; Cultivating, a painting of a similar subject, hammered for $50,400 in an auction held in 2009.
Shannons broke its own prior record for another artist when an oil on canvas by the American Modernist Alice Mattern (1909-1945), titled Allegro, impressive at 42 ¼ inches by 39 inches, finished at $55,200. Leading lots depicting New York City were Birge Harrisons Bryant Park at Evening, New York, which brought $60,000, and Lee Lashs Wall Street, which made $28,800.
The sale was largely successful, grossing over $2 million dollars, with more than 80% of the lots sold. Sandra Germain, co-owner of Shannons Fine Art Auctioneers, said, It was an exciting auction. Records were broken and activity levels were very encouraging. We saw many familiar faces and met several new clients. The room was full and bidding at all levels was competitive.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 20 percent buyers premium.
Contemporary art performed exceptionally well. Andre Brasiliers (French, b. 1920) oil painting titled Cavaliers sous les branches à Fère en Tardenois sold for $78,000. A gouache painting by Alexander Calder (Am., 1898-1976), titled Fleurs dete, sold for $50,400, while a watercolor by the contemporary French master Raoul Dufy, titled Nature Morte au Jardin, achieved $36,000.
Gouaches by the American Impressionist painter Jane Peterson (1876-1965), titled At the Foot of the Rialto and Venice, Late Afternoon, exceeded their estimates by selling for $28,800 and $26,400, respectively. Also, a sporting watercolor Ogden M. Pleissner (Am., 1905-1983), best known for sporting art, landscapes and war art, also performed well, hammering for $36,000.
The sleeper of the auction was a small unframed painting of a rose by J. Alden Weir (Am., 1852-1919). It was estimated at $1,500-2,500, but spirited bidding pushed the final price up to $9,600.
Another surprise at the end of the auction was a painting of the Thomas Powell steamship on the Hudson River dated 1870 by Charles W. Tice, expected to bring $2,000-3,000. The unassuming historical scene attracted significant online attention prior to the sale. During the auction, fierce bidding between a floor bidder and phone bidder helped attain the successful result of $15,600.