Freeman’s January 23 European Art & Old Masters auction marked the second sale of the 2018 spring season. The auction totaled over $975,000, representing 80 percent of the lots by value. There were more than 300 registered bidders, with global interest and participation matching the expansive offerings in the nearly 200 lot sale.
Works by French artists dominated the sale. A small watercolor by Paul Signac (French 1863-1935), “Bourg-Saint-Andéol, Les Quais du Rhône,” (Lot 129) executed in 1925, presented the viewer with an intimate view of the river which snakes its way through France from Lyon to Arles. “Bourg-Saint-Andéol, Les Quais du Rhône” sold for $25,000, against an estimate of $15,000-20,000. A painting by Ernest Alexandre Bodoy (1880-1920), “Entrance to the Champs-Elysees,” (Lot 118, estimate $2,000-3,000) far exceeded estimates selling for $11,875.
A pair of lots by artist Jean Dufy far exceeded presale estimates toward the end of the auction. The younger brother of artist Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), Jean moved to Paris in 1912. Lot 153, “Aux Courses,” captured the intensity of a horse race, likely at the famous Longchamp Racecourse located in the Bois de Boulogne to the west of Paris and sold for $35,000. The next lot, “Paris – Place Clichy, ” depicted the major intersection joining the eighth, ninth, seventeenth and eighteenth arrondissements in the northwest of the city, and sold for an impressive $75,000 against an estimate of just $20,000-30,000. Both paintings came from the estate of Richard M. Scaife, the newspaper heir and heir to the Mellon finance fortune.
A painting by Blanche Hoschedé-Monet (Lot 131) was the third highest selling lot in the sale. The step-daughter and daughter-in-law of Claude Monet (she married his eldest son, after her mother became the artist’s second wife), Hoschedé-Monet’s “Les Ombres sur la Prairie,” of slender poplar trees in a field in Ajoux, near Giverny, shows her confident yet delicate touch. The piece sold for $50,000. Lot 130, an oil on canvas by Henry Moret titled “Lorient” depicts, like so many paintings by the artist, his beloved Brittany. Moret initially visited Lorient at the age of 19 while completing his military service returned to live there permanently in 1896. The painting sold for $56,250.
An elegantly framed painting with literary roots by British artist John Byam Shaw (Lot 56) sold for $43,750 against an estimate of $15,000-25,000. The title, “When Alone She Sits with Her Music and Books,” is derived from a line from the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, “Maud,” and the painting itself was surrounded by an gilded frame, inlaid with mother of pearl.
The sale closed with four works by Turkish artist Fikret Mualla, all of which sold above their high estimates. “Moulin Rouge,” (Lot 190) an oil on paper laid down to canvas work depicting patrons of the iconic Parisian cabaret for which it is named, sold for $48,750 against an estimate of $15,000-25,000. Mualla lived in France for close to 30 years, capturing the daily life there, in cafes and the carousing nightlife in the country’s capital. Two paintings, “Café Scene” and “Le Marché” (Lots 188 and 189), fine examples of the artist’s preferred subject, sold for $31,200 and $33,800, respectively, against presale estimates of $12,000-18,000, and $10,000-15,000.
“It was an exciting sale, representing some of the best artists in the field,” Senior Vice President and Department Head David Weiss said. “Our bi-annual European art sales invariably prove to be a draw for buyers and bidders abroad and closer to home.”
The next European Art & Old Masters auction is scheduled for early summer.