Fairfield, ME ~ August 20-23, 2013. For nearly 30 of their nearly 45 years in the auction business, James D. Julia, Inc. has treated auction goers the world over to a spectacular end of summer auction like no other. This year, not content with two or even three days of selling, the team has amassed four full days chock full of approximately 2,600 lots featuring over 600 American & European paintings and bronzes, many of these fine works from an important Augusta, Maine Estate, over 800 lots of American & European furniture and accessories from collections and Estates across the country, over 1100 lots of Asian porcelain, jade, ivory, bronzes, scroll, etc., as well as folk art, weathervanes, nautical, historical items, Native American objects, jewelry, clocks & watches, and more make this one of the largest and most diverse arrays of items the company has offered to date.
Day One is a splendid array of fine art; many are from an affluent old line Augusta, Maine family. Featured therein is an important portrait by Rembrandt Peale of George Washington. Known for producing a series of portraits of our nation’s father, this example is believed to have descended through the Romanov Family of Russia as indicated on a 1994 purchase invoice. Executed in 1857 from an original portrait done over a half century prior this exceptional work is expected to fetch $150,000-200,000.
Other American art from this collection includes an unusual beach scene by William Trost Richards that was inset into the mantel wall above the fireplace and had to be surgically removed from the house. Depicting ocean waves gently lapping the shore as thunderheads form in the distance, it carries a presale estimate of $50,000-75,000. A wonderful oil on canvas by Louis Aston White entitled “Clear Water” has a provincial brook side shack serving as a focal point with soft ripples leading the viewer’s eye upstream. Showing exceptional detail, it comes with a $10,000-20,000 estimate.
This collection likewise explored international art of the higher degree, including two works by Russian artist Ivan Federovich Choultse. His keen talent for capturing jaw dropping realism and subtle nuances of light on snow earned him the honor of court painter to Czar Nicholas II. Presented here are two stunning winter scenes, one depicting a group of freshly coated deciduous trees and the other, a landscape of lonely evergreens weighed down by a recent mountain snowstorm. They carry estimates of $50,000-70,000 and $40,000-60,000, respectively. The international flavor continues with a recent discovery of a dozen European Old Master works that have been stored in a basement for the better part of 50 years. Not having seen the light of day for approximately five decades, it doesn’t get much fresher to the market than that.
From other collections are numerous American works worthy of note such as a rugged, unspoiled wilderness, mountain waterfall scene by Hermann Herzog. Most captivating, it comes estimated for $20,000-30,000. This is joined by a large oil on canvas shore scene by contemporary Maine artist Thomas Crotty showing the snow covered grass and dunes in the infant stages of the spring thaw. Considered to be one of the finest examples of this painter’s work, it is estimated for $30,000-50,000. Even more worth of note is that it was consigned with the generous and noble pledge to donate the proceeds to benefit Maine’s Portland Museum of Art.
Helping to add to the already expansive selection will be submissions from two separate Maine estates and will include a variety of pieces by Maine and other New England artists. From the Nickerson Estate of Castine, Maine are eleven works by perennial local favorite Waldo Peirce, which joins a selection of Rockport-Gloucester artists including an equal number of Emile Gruppes. The latter of which includes “Low Tide – Rockport” showing ramshackle buildings serving as a backdrop to fishermen casting off the dock while another tends to a tangled net. It carries an estimate of $8,000-12,000. In another one of Gruppe’s works, also taking advantage of low tide, is a trio of clam diggers plying their back breaking trade. This piece comes with a $7,000-10,000 estimate. Other examples of the Rockport-Gloucester school include harbor scenes by early to mid-20th century contemporaries Aldro Thompson Hibbard and Anthony Thieme. Each with a variety of skiffs and sailboats moored dockside, carrying estimates ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 apiece.
The day is rounded out by an extensive offering of over 30 Austrian bronzes from a New Hampshire estate. Renowned for depictions of Middle Eastern life, artists like Franz Bergman and his intricately detailed castings are highly sought after. Highlights include a lamp portraying an Arab trader inspecting his rifle as he sits at the entrance of his tent. It carries an estimate of $3,000-5,000 while a lamp by Anton Chotka with two Arab figures conversing outside a large tent is expected to bring $5,000-10,000. A wonderful collection of Geoffrey Dashwood bird bronzes from an estate in upstate New York will include the rare artist’s copy of his barn owl estimated at $3,000-4,000.
All of Day Two and the first half of Day Three are devoted to folk art, fine antiques, nautical items and so forth. One of the many folk art pieces is an exceptional carving of a young black boy in a seated position enjoying a relaxing moment. Carved and polychromed with a pleasant and lifelike smile, he is attired in a three-button jacket with collared shirt, and three-quarter length knickers. From the late 19th or early 20th century, this charming fellow carries a presale estimate of $30,000-40,000. Other carved pieces include an important and unique Lincoln commemorative panel on base. This high relief screen is elaborately crafted with the bust of Abraham Lincoln in profile framed within four crossed American flags centering a scroll carved “EMANCIPATION 1863.” Beneath the bust is carved a log cabin on the left and the White House on the right. It will likely be a lifetime before something like this is seen again. It comes estimated for $15,000-25,000.
Always popular folk art items are weathervanes and this auction will feature over 30 fine examples, most of which came from a private Waterville, Maine estate collection. The many highlights include an outstanding and rare horse and hoop copper weathervane attributed to A.L. Jewell & Co. of Waltham, Massachusetts. With the verdigris and gilded surfaces that only time can create, the complete package is one that will make bidders jump through hoops to obtain. It comes estimated for $8,000-12,000. A large and important molded copper pig attributed to L.W. Cushing & Son, also of Waltham may bring home the bacon with its charming and whimsical expression. It carries an estimate of $20,000-30,000. What the pig has in charm and whimsy, a rare full body copper four wheel sulky and rider weathervane is a cut above in detail. It comes with great worn gilded surfaces and a $10,000-20,000 estimate. Other folk art includes fine decoys. An extremely rare sand hill crane decoy is estimated at $4,000-6,000. A rare carved and articulated owl decoy from the late 19th or early 20th century is estimated for $1,500-2,500.
From land to sea, Julia’s has it covered and includes some outstanding nautical items such as a large offering of scrimshaw from two private collections. Included will be two extremely rare and desirable intaglio carved and painted whale’s teeth. Circa 1860s, one depicts a woman in period dress while the other depicts a uniformed sailor. Each is mounted to a tiered and inlaid base and carries an estimate of $4,000-6,000 apiece. Other nautical includes numerous ship portraits, highlighted in part by one honoring the tugboat “Lewis Pulver”. Most known for his representations of sailing ships, this unusual work of a steam work vessel was once part of the Mariner’s Museum and comes estimated for $20,000-30,000.
The day continues with a broad selection of furniture (including both New England and Pennsylvania), painted furniture, high style Victorian furniture, lighting, country smalls and accessories galore. Furniture includes an important Queen Anne cherry secretary on frame. From the third quarter of the 18th century, this masterful work features swan’s neck pediment, flame finials, paneled doors, sloping lid, short cabriole legs with scalloped returns, pad feet, and a $10,000-12,000 estimate.
This session likewise includes many selections from Blue Dolphin antiques in Northport, Maine, established over 40 years ago by Vito and Linda Peri. Peri had a terrific eye for quality and was a very active upper shelf dealer for many years. Known for lighting (they had one of the most extensive offerings of chandeliers in New England) this auction contains 15 exquisite chandeliers as well as fine classical furniture, folk art, historical items, etc. More chandeliers and antiques from their fine shop will be offered in future Julia auctions. A two-day onsite auction for a substantial portion Blue Dolphin shop will take place August 17 & 18, conducted by Poulin’s Auction House, also based in Fairfield, Maine.
Other accessories in this session include an exceedingly rare Wilson 13” terrestrial globe from 1811, believed to be the first original dated globe from when Captain Cook was sailing the Seven Seas. Precious few were ever made, and even fewer survived. Perhaps even more fascinating is how this historically important piece was acquired in the first place and then nearly lost forever. According to the consignor, the grandmother of the current owner, while working on the Grafton County Farm in Woodsville, New Hampshire accepted this globe as back rent payment from one of her boarders and just put it into storage. In 1969, the farm was scheduled for demolition by the state, but two days before their house and barn were going to be burned, the consignor decided to go back for one last look. Her eyes happened upon a brown paper bag, and in it was the globe. She then brought it to her grandmother and learned of its interesting history. Fresh to the market by descent through the family to the current owner it comes to the block with a $30,000-50,000 estimate.
The day is rounded out by a grouping of rare and historic early American silver from the First Congregational Church in Woburn, Massachusetts. This is one of the oldest churches in North America dating from the mid-1700s and the pieces were originally given as gifts to the church by various benefactors. In 1911 the collection was on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and was highly documented and praised for its quality. The collection includes beakers and handled cups and now comes to the auction block with estimates ranging from $600-800 to $10,000-12,000 apiece.
With so many fine furniture items and accessories, this segment of the auction couldn’t help but overflow into the next day. Day Three features a stunningly huge selection of Louis Vuitton pieces. Numbering over 20 examples (including 11 from an Augusta, Maine estate), the selection includes hard sided steamer trunks, cases, and luggage for well-heeled traveler. Being sold singly and in small sets, they carry presale estimates ranging from $1,000 to $12,000. Also up for bid will be a historic 19th century Vuitton trunk one owned by Hannibal Hamlin, Vice President under Lincoln.
The day continues with a variety of decorative items, trade signs, serving sets, Victorian antiques and accessories, and furniture including some most unusual pieces that are sure to get much attention. During the 1930s, the pinnacle of the Art Deco period, Warren McArthur of Los Angeles was making a name for himself by creating some rather innovative designs, which continued right up to his death in 1961. McArthur was one of the first to use aluminum, stainless steel, and chrome in furniture design which became popular throughout the rest of the 20th century, and helped pave the way for Mad Men style retro fashion enjoying popularity today. The pieces featured here are some of his earliest designs and include a rare chaise lounge (est. $2,000-3,000), a double back settee (est. $1,000-2,000), as well as arm and side chairs (with estimates ranging from the mid-hundreds to $1,000-2,000). Similar in nature, they consist of green brush painted tubular frameworks accented by decorative polished discs and are finished with horizontal polished aluminum slat backrests. They simply exude “cool” and their contribution to modern sensibilities cannot be denied.
The auction concludes the four day event with approximately 1,200 lots of Asian antiques representing a great cross section with lots of variety. This segment of Julia’s already successful repertoire has really taken off in the last couple years with the addition of renowned Asian expert James Callahan who works out of the company’s Woburn, Massachusetts satellite office. Taken in from two separate advanced American collections, the offering is as fresh as they come. Perhaps central to the entire segment is an extraordinary and historic Imperial gilt bronze seal from the early 1700s. The seal was consigned by the nephew of Rear Admiral William A. Sullivan of the U.S. Navy, who in his lifetime had an illustrious military career. It was a prized possession of his uncle’s throughout the elder’s life who had spent considerable time in the Orient. Depicting a crouching dragon chasing a pearl that is accompanied by eight other dragons within waves and cloud bands, it is crafted of an alloy comprised of copper, silver, gold, and tin. Truly phenomenal, this treasure carries a presale estimate of $20,000-30,000.
Other highlights include an exceptional and large 19th century brush pot made of the exceedingly rare Agarwood, which takes many decades to even grow to a usable size. Finely carved with a traditional Chinese mountainous landscape it comes estimated for $30,000-35,000. A fine pair of antique Chinese Huanghuali horseshoe back armchairs with classic styling fit for royalty. From a private British collection, the pair carries an estimate of $100,000-125,000.
The auction continues with a generous selection of ivory, bronze, jade, and porcelain such as an 18th century bottle vase with allover floral decoration on an iron red background. It comes conservatively estimated for $800-1,200. Carrying the same estimate is an important 15th century bowl from the early Ming Period with scrolling floral sprigs and a deep blue underglaze. A pair of carved and pierced ivory table screens with highly elaborate scenes of traditional longevity symbolism is accented by polychrome borders birds and flowers. Exhibiting exceptional detail and a gifted hand, the pair is expected to bring $1,500-3,000.
A collection of bronze deities and other Tibetan and Buddhist figures includes a wonderful gilt bronze from the early 1400s of a multi-armed divine mystic figure seated in the lotus position. Complete with undisturbed wrapped offerings it comes from the private collection of Professor Theodore Lugs of Colorado with an estimate of $3,000-4,000. These are joined by a most unusual cloisonné double vase. Looking to be separate vases “joined at the hip”, the highly decorated components appear to be “wrapped” as one by a scarf. This beautiful piece is expected to bring $12,000-15,000.
More information on the Julia auction can be obtained by going to Julia’s website at www.jamesdjulia.com or calling 207-453-7125. Free full-color brochures are available, or their lavish, 2-volume, full-color, detailed and illustrated catalogs are available for $40 each or both for $75. Previews for the auctions will be Monday, August 19 from 9am-5pm, Tuesday through Friday from 8-10am before each auction session. The auction commences at 10am on August 20-23 at Julia’s auction facilities on Rt. 201 in Fairfield, Maine.