Norman Rockwell Works Soar At Eldred’s Americana Auction

EAST DENNIS, MASS. — A cache of Norman Rockwell work highlighted Eldred’s Americana and paintings sale July 31–August 2 under the green and white tent on Cape Cod Bay. A study for “Lunch Break with a Knight” that appeared on the cover of the November 3, 1962 issue of The Saturday Evening Post sold for $44,840.

A museum guard in a darkened armor gallery enjoys his sandwich seated on the pedestal of a fully barded horse, a lighted flashlight by his side. The study, accompanied by a framed copy of the cover, came from a Massachusetts collection.

Rockwell’s study for “Fixing a Flat,” was the cover of the August 3, 1946 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. From the same Massachusetts collection, the study brought $15,340. It was accompanied by one handwritten and six typed letters from Rockwell to Herb Townsend relating to Rockwell’s loss of a portfolio of Howard Pyle images that was lost in a 1943 fire in his studio.

Another Rockwell work was the framed “Willie the Thrush Sketch” made for his book Willie Was Different. Together with a copy of the book, the sketch realized $8,850. The sketch was inscribed “For Bill Love Norman Rockwell.” An unframed signed black and white photograph of Rockwell was dated November 9, 1963, and sold for $242.

Ralph Cahoon paintings and objects from several Rhode Island collections were offered. The highlight was Cahoon’s “Cotuit 1776,” a dockside view with three mermaids and two sailors holding banners reading “Cotuit” and “1776” with two ships, three balloons and a lighthouse in the background and on the dock: three barrels, one of oysters, another of rum and one of jams and jellies. The signed and dated painting sold for $31,860.

Cahoon’s depiction of a dockside game of poker among three sailors and a mermaid, with two ships and a lighthouse in the background sold for $23,600, while his 1978 “Home Sweet Home” with two mermaids baking pies and a ship visible through a window fetched $17,700.

His “Mermaids in Venice” with two mermaids and a gondolier and a ship in the background brought $15,340. A scene of family introductions as a young sailor introduces a mermaid to his assembled prim family took $12,980. A Cahoon sailor’s valentine with a central painting of a mermaid and a sailor in a balloon brought $10,285. A sailor’s shellwork valentine with a central heart signed by B.A. Woodman sold for $2,541.

Shellwork artist Bernard A. Woodman of Marstons Mills, Mass., supplied Ralph and Martha Cahoon with sailor’s valentines into which they would insert their work.

One section of the auction catalog was given over to work by artists of the Provincetown Art Colony. Aldro Thompson Hibbard’s untitled oil on board of Provincetown from about 1919 sold for $21,240 and his New England winter landscape fetched $7,080. Peter Busa’s oil on canvas “The New Star” went for $21,240.

The catalog cover lot “Portuguese Women, Provincetown Women,” an evocative scene of four women along the shoreline, by Iowa born, Provincetown artist Ross Moffett, sold for $14,160. Moffett’s “The Old Fisherman,” which had an impressive museum exhibit history, was $11,210.

“View of Provincetown from Miller Hill” an oil on board by Bruce McKain, realized $4,720, and Gerris Albertus Beneker’s 1926 “View of Wellfleet” in the original hand carved frame was also $4,720.

The Newport view, “Near Gray Cliff” by William Trost Richards, sold for $11,210, while the signed coastal Maine scene by Charles Herbert Woodbury went for $10,890. The New Hampshire view, “Misty Morning, White Mountains, N.H.,” by contemporary Cape Cod artist William R. Davis realized $7,080.

An Impressionist summer landscape by Connecticut artist Charles Henry Ebert, who spent summers working on Monhegan Island, Maine, took $10,620.

In a step away from New England art, “Sopa Em Ipanema (Aproadar – Rio)” a dramatic oil on canvas by Brazilian artist Juarez Machado, sold for $14,160. Machado has lived in Paris since 1986 but continues to paint scenes of Rio.

A ship’s portrait of the super clipper The Young America by Charles Drew Cahoon was unsigned and undated but realized $9,680. The picture came from a Cape Cod collection and was purchased by the consignor’s father from the artist. Cahoon’s landscape view of a Cape Cod home was signed and sold for $3,540, while his seascape of waves crashing on rocks along the shoreline was signed and dated 1948 and realized $2,360.

A sporting painting by Harold Matthews Brett, “Steady Boy,” depicting a hunter and his dog, came from a Cape Cod collection and sold for $3,146.

New Bedford artist, and director of the Swain Free School there, Harry A. Neyland painted along the wharves of the city. His 1923 dockside view “Whaling Bark Greyhound” bore the notation on a stretcher “Painted Pier #3 New Bedford, Mass 1923.” It realized $8,850. “Cathedral Hill” by Chauncey Foster Ryder sold for $5,900.

German artist Paul Ritter lost his hearing at age four but he was able to overcome his loss through his painting skills. He arrived in the United States at age 31 and had a studio in Vermont and New Hampshire and was influenced by the work of Hudson River School artists. His Hudson River scene went to a phone bidder for $5,310.

“Girl on the Dunes” by George W. Chambers brought $4,720. The painting of a Breton girl was exhibited in 1884 at the Paris Salon. A Cape Cod picture by Wendell M. Rogers, “Preparing for a Day of Fishing” in an Arts and Crafts frame, sold for $3,068. It came from a Connecticut collection. A Cape Ann harbor scene by Anthony Thieme realized $3,933, and a winter scene in Vermont by Camillo Adriani went for $3,835.

Bidders were confident in “Sunset on the Hudson” that was attributed to Samuel Colman and drove it to $5,605. Colman was an accomplished artist but also an interior designer, collaborating with his friend Louis Comfort Tiffany on some major commissions. A sunset at sea view with sailing vessels by Ireland born James Hamilton sold for $6,490.

Several bidders knew something about a late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century American School scene of a Native American man in a wooded landscape that bore the partial inscription, “Iriqois [sic] With Regards…” Estimated at $700/900, it fetched $7,670.

The seven volume The Birds of America, From Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories by John James Audubon and published by Audubon and J.B. Chevalier of New York and Philadelphia brought $25,960. The books belonged to Thomas Whitridge of Baltimore, an original subscriber.

A determined phone bidder took a collection of 60 Civil War cartes de visite of various military officers and soldiers for $11,800. The collection came from Chicagoan newspaper publisher Charles L. Wilson, a Lincoln supporter and Secretary of the American Legation in London, and descended in the family to William Ware. It is thought that Wilson, given his friendship with General Philip A. Sheridan and William Seward, among others, gathered the collection himself.

Wilson’s diplomatic officer’s uniform made around 1863 or 1864 by Watkins of New Burlington Street, London, brought $4,130. A partial document for the ship Henry of Boston signed by President George Washington and countersigned by his attorney general Edmund Jennings Randolph was $5,142.

The sale was wide — with lots of interesting objects — some of which were pretty much under the money — like the documents and other material relating to the Delano family. The lot included a letter to Captain Joshua Delano, master of the schooner Fairlady from Boston merchants Benjamin Homer and Benjamin Cobb, Jr, about the procurement of slaves in the West Indies as cargo for the vessel. The lot sold at $1,416.

Everybody’s favorite lot of the three-day event was the 1950 MGTD four speed two-seater convertible in the original red paint with a tan leather interior that sold for $11,800 to a woman buying it as a present for her husband. It ran as evidenced by the occasional rumble of its engine during the sale as potential buyers had a look. It had 100,050 miles and had been recently inspected.

An 82-inch Oceanic wooden spear, said to have come from New Zealand, sold to a collector for $5,143. Eldred’s Eric S. Mulak spotted it on a house call in New Jersey and brought it back to the Cape.

Silver across the block included a 1770 George III salver by Ebenezer Coker of London with a shell and piecrust border that fetched $7,080. It came from a Charleston, S.C., collection. Two sterling platters by Gorham Mfg. Co., drew $4,130. A six-piece sterling tea set by Boston makers Lows, Ball & Co., included a coffeepot, a teapot, a creamer, a covered sugar, a waste bowl and a hot water pot. Descended from Charles L. Wilson to William Ware, the set brought $4,425. A cased silver flatware service in the International Silver Company’s 1810 pattern, comprising some 113 pieces, sold for $3,540.

The star of the sporting lots was a Winchester Model 21 skeet side-by-side shotgun, serial #19261, that was accompanied by a matched set of extra barrels choked at skeet and skeet and a leather gun case. It realized $7,080. A Winchester Model 42 slide action shotgun, serial #162951, had a ribbed vent that may have been an after-market enhancement. It went for $3,146. A cased Colt Model 1849 .31 caliber revolver fetched $2,950.

A Twentieth Century Nantucket Lightship basket by José Formoso Reyes with a swing handle and a carved ivory whale plaque on an ebony panel brought $4,425. The bottom was signed and marked with a map of Nantucket. A Nineteenth Century 52½-inch carved wood trade sign in the form of a pointing hand with a ruffled cuff at the wrist brought $4,235. A carnival game, “Fool the Mad Genius,” comprising a scale with an attached chair on a tripod and including the sign “Fool the Mad Genius and Win A Prize” tempted a lot of comers and brought $4,720. A rocket-form sculpture with three metal fins has been attracting attention since it went on view in the Eldred’s gallery earlier this summer. It realized $3,068.

Of a selection of American clocks, a late Nineteenth Century Boston example by William Bond elicited $5,900.

All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.

For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.

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