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A selection of works from Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Foundation to be offered at Bonhams
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Mrs. John C. Tomlinson, 58 1/8 x 37 7/8in (147.6 x 96.2cm) Estimate: $200,000 - 300,000. Photo: Bonhams.



NEW YORK, NY.- A portrait by John Singer Sargent, Mrs John. C Tomlinson, from the prestigious Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Foundation leads Bonhams American Art sale in New York on Wednesday, July 29. Estimated at $200,000-300,000, it is among several highlights from The Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Foundation collection in the sale.

Bonhams Director of American Art Jennifer Jacobsen said, “By the turn of the 20th century, Sargent had confirmed his reputation as a leading portraitist for American and European high society. Mrs John C. Tomlinson is an exemplary work, showcasing the artist’s trademark painterly technique and his maturity as a portrait painter who described his sitters in truth, while revealing their alluring elegance and grace.”

The New York socialite Dora Tomlinson led a glittering lifestyle, mixing with New York’s elites and travelling frequently to Europe with her husband John, a prominent and wealthy lawyer. The portrait by Singer Sargent was painted in around 1904, shortly after the Tomlinsons moved to West 57th Street, where it is believed the painting was displayed.

Other highlights from The Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Foundation collection include:




• Siesta by John Koch (1909-1978),1962. Estimate: $40,000 - 60,000. An important figure in 20th century realist painting, Koch is best known for light-filled paintings of urban interiors, frequently his own Manhattan apartment. In 1964, Siesta was featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

• Summer Night by John Koch (1909-1978), 1965. Estimate: $80,000 - 120,000. Another dramatically lit work by Koch who was a family friend and much cherished artist – the Duke collection had six of his paintings. Summer Night is a monumentally scaled masterwork by the artist.

• Girl Playing and Seated Boy with Book by Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). This double-sided work, dates from 1876 and is estimated $15,000 - 25,000. These intriguing studies were painted back-to-back on a single piece of artist board. The primary side of the present work is believed to be a study for Eakins' painting Baby at Play (1876, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) that depicts his two-year-old niece, Ella Crowell.

• Sarah Coxe by Thomas Sully (1783-1872), 1813. Estimate: $7,000 - 10,000. Famous for his historical art adapted for use on US coins, Sully was also a great portraitist, whose clientele ran from presidents (both Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams) to musicians. The elegant red shawl in this picture showcases Scully’s mastery of texture and brushwork.

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans (1920-2012) was an American philanthropist, local and statewide leader and patron of the arts. A powerful member of the Duke University Board of Trustees and the first female chairman of The Duke Endowment, she helped guide these institutions during her more than five decades of service to their current success. For Mary, art was essential to life – telling stories, promoting a greater understanding of others, and bridging cultures and lifestyles. Passionate about encouraging access to the fine arts, she helped found the North Carolina School of the Arts in the 1960s – the country’s first public conservatory. She also created, in her mother’s memory, The Mary Duke Biddle Gallery for the Blind at the North Carolina Museum of Art.










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