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Adventurous Bidders Add Edge to Skinner Auction

Skinner auctioneers, Boston, realized $2.2 million in its sale of American and European paintings on Nov. 16, slightly above the presale estimate of $1.4/2.1 million. Of the 592 lots on offer, 84 percent found buyers. Bidders exhibited a willingness to take risks as prices for artworks by somewhat obscure artists and others identified only as “attributed

NEW YORK—Skinner auctioneers, Boston, realized $2.2 million in its sale of American and European paintings on Nov. 16, slightly above the presale estimate of $1.4/2.1 million. Of the 592 lots on offer, 84 percent found buyers.

Bidders exhibited a willingness to take risks as prices for artworks by somewhat obscure artists and others identified only as “attributed to” or “school of” reached well beyond the estimates. A Still Life with a Basket of Cherries (estimate: $800/1,200), identified only as American School, 19th century, brought $35,250; a Continental School, 19th-century work, A Grand Entrance (estimate: $2,000/4,000), earned $21,150; and Venus and Mars (estimate: $3,000/5,000), attributed to Italian Simone Pignone (1614-98), drew $41,125.

An undated painting by Italian Gerolamo Induno (1827-90), Hearing the News of the Day, which had been estimated at $10,000/15,000, earned $237,000; an oil-on-panel picture by Austrian Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932), Winding Yarn/A Harem View (estimate: $15,000/25,000), was picked up for $171,000; and an 1889 oil on canvas by American William Staples Drown (1856-1915), Wald Tower, Farr San Marco, St. Augustine, Florida, bearing a modest $1,000/1,500 estimate, realized $36,425.

Other works with low estimates also achieved high prices: The 1881 Jackrabbit on a Woodland Path (estimate: $1,500/2,500), by American Jervis McEntee (1828-91), drew $44,063; an undated Florida River View (estimate: $1,200/1,800), by American Arthur Vidal Diehl (1870-1929), brought $34,075; and the 1898 Swarland Pugs (estimate: $6,000/8,000), by British artist Wilson Hepple (1853-1937), earned $58,750.

The highest price of the sale, $402,000, went for a work by American painter Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904)—Still Life with Cherokee Roses—which had been painted during the 1880s and had a Skinner estimate of $75,000/125,000. Both the Heade and Induno paintings were consigned by “a Massachusetts library” that “didn’t know what they had,” Anne Poling, one of the specialists in charge of the Skinner sale, told ARTnewsletter. “The works had been in storage for decades. They were dirty but untouched in terms of condition.”

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