NEW YORK—Skinner’s sale of American and European paintings on March 4 yielded $1.5 million, the low end of the auctioneer’s $1.5/2.3 million estimate. Just 16 percent of the 613 works on offer were bought in.
An undated winter landscape, Over the Bridge, by Fritz Thaulow (1847-1906), drew the highest price of $88,125, even though the artist’s reputation is modest and largely confined to his native Norway. The painting had been consigned by a private Boston-based collector. The winning telephone bid, Skinner spokeswoman Anne E. Poling told ARTnewsletter, came from a dealer purchasing it for a client.
Most of the hammer prices fell within presale estimates, which traditionally tend to be on the conservative side at Skinner’s. However, a few lots sold well above expected levels. These included an 1860s watercolor of a Rhode Island farmhouse, by John LaFarge (1835-1910), that earned $41,125 (estimate: $10,000/15,000); an 1877 oil-on-canvas, Harbor View, by Lemuel D. Eldred (1848-1921), that fetched $34,075 (estimate: $6,000/8,000); an oil-on-canvas landscape, An October Morning, Duxbury, Massachusetts, by J. Ambrose Prichard (1858-1905), that drew a winning bid of $29,375 (estimate: $10,000/15,000); and a bronze sculpture of a dog, from an edition of two, by Katharine Ward Lane Weems (1899-1989), that realized $32,900 (estimate: $7,000/9,000).
Perhaps the most active bidding was for an undated oil-on-canvasboard painting, A Woodstock Garden, by John Fulton Folinsbee (1892-1972), that earned $36,425 (estimate: $2,500/3,500), Poling notes. “We kept the estimate on the conservative side because it was only a small sketch,” she explains. It turned out, however, that all 10 phone lines were active with bidders, competing against prospective buyers in the audience and others who had left written bids.
Following on the success of a group of woodcut prints by M.C. Escher and photographic prints by Alfred Eisenstaedt, both at Skinner’s sale last September, further consignments of similar material by the artists again did well—most notably a 1938 Escher, Night and Day, which fetched $22,325 (estimate: $15,000/25,000).