It will be the first auction of 2012 for Shannon’s, which conducts just two sales a year. The firm posted record numbers in 2011, with auctions in April and October combining for about $7.6 million. The top lot at the fall event was a Luminist view of the Hudson River by Jasper Cropsey that brought $252,000. The spring sale was hugely successful, grossing $5.1 million.
The upcoming sale is loaded with impressive, mainly American 19th and 20th century offerings. “We secured some great consignments early on, and they just kept pouring in,” said Gene Shannon, owner of Shannon's. He added, “The economy overall may still be fragile, but the market for high-end artworks remains strong.”
The auction catalog reads like a who's who in the world of fine art. The list of artists in the sale includes Thomas Cole, James McDougal Hart and Edward Moran (all 19th century); Walter Launt Palmer, Paul Cornoyer, Louis Ritman and William Glackens (all 20th century); and Rolph Scarlett, Franz Kline, Robert Smithson and Robert Indiana (all Modernist painters).
The auction's expected top lot should bring $150,000-$250,000. It is a fine Luminist work from the 1820s by Thomas Cole (1801-1848). Cole is generally acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School, a group of American landscape painters whose works were romantic and naturalistic. Cole's aesthetic vision influenced and entire generation of artists.
Two other 19th century works of note expected to do well are a brightly lit view of New York Harbor by Edward Moran (1829-1901), one of the most renowned American marine painters of his time (est. $80,000-$120,000)
Additional works by other prominent Hudson River School artists will also be offered. They include paintings by Jervis McEntee (1828-1891); Alexander Wyant (1836-1892); David Johnson (1827-1908); Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910); and Herman Fueschel (1833-1915). Other 19th century works will also cross the block.
The anticipated top lot of the 20th century group is a flower garden scene in Giverny, France by Louis Ritman (1889-1963), known for his sunny, Impressionist landscapes (est. $100,000-$150,000)
Other 20th century paintings to watch will include a major work of carriages in New York City by Paul Cornoyer (1864-1923, est. $60,000-$80,000);
Other significant 20th century works will be in the auction, by Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922); Gifford Beal (1879-1956); Mary Bradish Titcomb (1858-1927); Fern Coppedge (1883-1951); John Follinsbee (1892-1972); Dwight Tryon (1849-1925); Emil (Soren) Carlsen (1848-1932).
The Modern works will be a led by a masterpiece by Rolph Scarlett (1889-1984), one of 12 works by the painter of geometric abstraction during the American avant-garde movement of the 1930s and '40s (est. $50,000-$75,000);
Also sold will be a museum-size masterpiece by Robert Smithson (1938-1973), titled The Serpent of the Blood, which has been rolled up in a tube since shortly after it was painted, in 1962 (est. $30,000-$50,000);
Other Modern works in the sale will be by artists Hilla Von Rebay (1890-1967); Cleve Gray (1918-2004); Stefan A. Hirsch (1899-1964); Michael Goldberg (1924-2007); Alvin Demar Jr. Loving (1935-2005); Milton Clark Avery (1885-1965); and Robert Richenberg.
Orientalist paintings will be led by a large and colorful depiction of an Arab rug seller by Addison Millar (1860-1913), known for his landscapes, portraits, genre work and still lifes (est. $20,000-$30,000);
Sculptures will also be offered. They include a depiction of a young beauty by Mario Korbel (1882-1954, est. $20,000-$30,000);
Certainly worth mentioning is a collection of six nautical works by Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921), one of America's best-known and post prolific painters of marine subjects and a graduate of the Royal Academy in Copenhagen; and a pair of works by William H. Yorke (1847-1921), an artist also renowned for his ship portraits and coastal views.
Previews for the auction will be held from April 16-21 (Mon.-Sat., from 11-6); April 23-24 (Mon.-Tues., from 11-6); April 25 (Wed., from noon to 8 p.m.); and April 26 (Thurs., from noon to 5:30 p.m.). Shannon's is closed for business on Sunday, April 22. Shannon’s Fine Arts Auctioneers' gallery is located off Interstate 95 in Milford, Conn., just south of New Haven.
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Ken Hall writes pre-sale and post-sale press releases for auction houses, for a fee. He writes, submits and tracks stories for clients. Submissions are published in trade magazines, posted on industry websites and appear in local newspapers.