NEW YORK—An N.C. Wyeth illustration for the Saturday Evening Post was the top lot at Skinner’s Jan. 28 sale of American and European paintings and prints in Boston, selling for $457,000 on an estimate of $300,000/500,000. And They Did Their Trading from the Top of Battlemented Walls, 1905, an oil on canvas, was one of four images used to illustrate “An Antiente Greate Companie,” an Arthur E. McFarland story about the Hudson Bay Trading Company, which appeared in the November 11, 1905, issue.
A number of the lots in this sale were given wide-ranging estimates, suggesting the continuing difficulty of assessing the state of the art market. Even with the broad estimates, many of the sale prices of the higher-valued lots still fell either above or below, rather than within, estimate. The sale brought in a total of $2.6million, within the $2million/3million overall estimate, and 390, or 73 percent, of the 556 lots found buyers.
Among other lots fetching strong prices, Fausto Zonaro’s oil Torre de Leandro/A View of Salacak and Kiz Kulesi, Istanbul, Turkey, n.d., sold for $225,150, several times the estimate of $20,000/40,000; Hungarian artist Mihály Munkácsy’s oil on panel Lesende Frau, ca. 1880, sold for $118,500 against an estimate of $70,000/90,000, and Marvin Cone’s Old Timer, 1941, sold for $118,500 against an estimate of $100,000/150,000. John Francis’s Elaborate Still Life with Melons and Fruit on a Marble Slab, 1858, sold for $65,175, well short of the estimate of $80,000/120,000, and Pablo Picasso’s color linocut Pique (Noir et beige), 1959, sold for $35,550 on an estimate of $25,000/35,000.
Spanish Mood, an oil on panel by the Russian-born American artist Grigory Gluckmann (1898–1973), sold for $28,440 against an estimate of $15,000/25,000, and Venetian Canal View, n.d., by Spanish artist Martin Rico y Ortega (1833–1908) sold for $27,225 against an estimate of $12,000/18,000.
Etchings by Rembrandt were much in demand here, with many selling well above expectations. View of Amsterdam from the Northwest, ca. 1640, sold for $17,775 against an estimate of $2,000/3,000, and an early impression of Descent from the Cross: A Sketch, 1642, brought $18,960, ten times the $1,200/1,800 estimate. Sheet with Two Studies: A Tree, and the Upper Part of a Head of the Artist Wearing a Velvet Cap, ca. 1642, sold for $27,255 against an estimate of $3,000/5,000.
Other Rembrandt etchings that sparked healthy bidding include Canal with a Large Boat and Bridge, 1650, which sold for $22,515 on an estimate of $2,500/3,500; Christ Disputing with the Doctors, 1652, which sold for $29,625 on an estimate of $3,500/5,500, and The Entombment, ca. 1654, which sold for $11,258 against an estimate of just $700/900.