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American Paintings




10 AM, September 29, 2009

Sales 2199

"Summer Mist" by Soren Emil Carlsen

Lot 74, "Summer Mist," by Soren Emil Carlsen, 30 1/2 by 40 inches, oil on canvas


By Carter B. Horsley

One of the highlights of this September 29, 2009 American Paintings auction at Christie's is Lot 74, a very fine and quite large poetic landscape by Soren Emil Carlsen (1852-1932) that is likely to go in the middle of its estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  An oil on canvas that measures 30 1/2 by 40 inches, it is entitled "Summer Mist" and is an excellent Tonalist work. It clearly is one of his finest works and he has been much underappreciated in the market. It sold for $80,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The auction total for the lots sold for the 188 offered was $2,057,400.

"Along the Path" by J. M. Culverhouse

Lot 71, "Along the Path," by Johann Mongels Culverhouse, oil on canvas, 25 3/4 by 39 3/4 inches

The Culverhouse landscape with sheep at Christies, Lot 71, Along the Path, is a very unusual and fine composition and easily one of the artist's masterpieces even though he is not a "big" name.  It appears to be in marvelous condition and is in a very good frame.  It was executed in 1866 and measures 25 ¾ by 39 ¾ inches.  Such a big and impressive and very attractive picture would ennoble any living room regardless of the name of the artist and it has a low estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $6,500. Three years ago I think it might have had an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000 and conceivably could have gone for over $40,000.  It is interesting to note that Sotheby's this season has a more typical skating scene by Culverhouse (Lot 42) that is a little bit smaller and has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.  Its nice but the Christie's painting is more attractive.

"Etretat" by Inness

Lot 70, "Etretat" by George Inness, oil on canvas, 18 by 26 1/2 inches

Lot 70 is a good landscape by George Inness of Etretat in France, which has a arched cliff formation made famous by Monet.  Inness is one of the unquestionable giants of American painting and while the middle gray portion up close is not terribly appetizing from a distance the composition comes together nicely.  All the major 19th Century American artists traveled extensively in Europe and while their European paintings are not as popular with collectors as their American works that is a minor nicety, especially in this case because the subject is so famous and distinctive and because the works somewhat somber (overcast) palette) is, in fact, pretty typical for Inness.  It has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000 and probably will go higher. It sold for $25,000. Inness started as a good but not great Hudson River School painter of precise, detailed landscapes before he changed styles and became a highly Impressionistic Tonalist painter of the first caliber.  His great Tonalist paintings, surprisingly, are still undervalued in the market and generally only bring in the mid-six figures but will gain over the years.

"Near Peekskill" by Inness


Lot 73, "Near Peekskill," by George Inness, oil on canvas laid down on board, 11 1/2 by 15 inches

Christies has a smaller and much earlier Inness landscape, Near Peekskill, Lot 73, which measures 11 ½ by 15 inches and it has an estimate of only $10,000 to $15,000.  It sold for $18,500. It is quite pleasant and probably will not go much higher than its estimate and it is a rare opportunity to get a pleasant and attractive small landscape by such a major and wonderful name. 

"Capri Pergola" by Charles Caryl Coleman

Lot 67, "Capri Pergola," by Charles Caryl Coleman, oil on board laid down on canvas, 14 by 20 1/4 inches, circa 1895

Lot 67 is a very fine work by Charles Caryl Coleman (1840-1928) of a pergola on Capri, where the artist lived during most of his career.  An oil on board laid down on canvas, it measures 14 by 20 1/4 inches and was executed circa 1895.  It has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.


Western landscape by Alexander Loemans

Lot 100, "Western Landscape," by Alexander Loemans, oil on canvas, 30 by 48 inches

Lot 100 is a large western landscape by Alexander Loemans (1816-1898) that might be of the Grand Tetons.  It is a handsome compositiion and measures 30 by 48 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.

There are several nice maritime watercolors in this auction by William Trost Richards (1833-1905) and Albert Bricher.  Richards is also represented by a very pleasant landscape oil, entitled "Shady Grove," Lot 103.  It measures 12 by 20 inches and was formerly with the Spanierman Gallery and Questroyal.  It has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $13,750.

"Orange Trees" by Jane Peterson

Lot 161, "Orange Blossoms," by Jane Peterson, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 18 by 24 inches

The auction has a lovely pair of Jane Peterson paintings that are immensely colorful, nicely framed and have very reasonable estimates.  They are so attractive I suspect they will go over their estimates of $4,000 to $6,000 each, but not by too much.  They both measure 18 by 24 inches. They each sold for $8,150.

"Apple Orchard" by Peterson

Lot 160, "Apple Orchard," by Jane Peterson, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 18 by 24 inches

The orange one, Lot 161, seems a bit more spectacular than the white apple blossoms, Lot 162, but they do make a handsome pair,.  Peterson is quite competent and her works are consistently very attractive and these are among the finest Ive seen and because she is not ancient her prices are not prohibitive.


Pastel by Anshutz

Lot 41 by Thomas Anshutz

The Dennis Bunker Miller at Christie's, Lot 46, is quite nice, but not smashing.  It will probably go toward the high end of its $20,000 to $30,000 estimate but I would suggest that while Bunker is not bad he is not one of the really good American Impressionists such as William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman, Childe Hassam, Tarbell, Theodore Robinson, Sargent and Thomas Wilmer Dewing all of whom are highly desirable and not inexpensive.  The Miller is a bit similar to the more poetic and impressionistic watercolor by Thomas Anshutz (1851-1912), Lot 41, who was the teacher of Eakins.  It has a more reasonable estimate of $7,000 to $10,000 and will probably not exceed its high estimate. It sold for $7,500.

Untitled by Suzy Frelinghuysen


Lot 133, Untitled, by Suzy Frelinghuysen, 16 by 12 inches, oil on canvas on board

Lot 133 is a superb, untitled abstraction by Suzy Frelinghuysen (1911-1986) that is an oil on canvas on board that measures 16 by 12 inches.  She was a member of the small and elite group in the 1930s and 1940s known as the Park Avenue Cubists.  It is a very strong composition and reasonably priced at $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $10,625. It came up at auction last year and failed to sell. This group preceded the Abstract Expressionists and have not yet received their proper due, which will come.  It is a really fine and bold work.


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