Fairfield, ME ~ February 4-6, 2015. Auction veterans of nearly 50 years, James D. Julia, Inc. has been on a steady trajectory showing significant growth for several years running. 2014 saw the firm reach another company best with over $54 Million in sales, a yearly gross that has been increasing with each consecutive year. They’re about to kick things off with an auction that will help pave the way for an exciting 2015. The Fine Art & Antiques team has once again assembled a stunning array of fine art, antiques, folk art, Asian artifacts, and historical items from various collections and estates from across North America including over 300 paintings and other artworks.
The ample array of art is augmented by two important works by renowned commercial artist Howard Terpning whose credits include Time, Newsweek, Field & Stream, and the movie industry doing the artwork for posters for “The Guns of Navarone” and “Dr. Zhivago”. Later known as an award winning Western painter, he became friends with noted gun expert and reference book author, Norm Flayderman, from whose estate the paintings were consigned. The first shows a rugged frontiersman traversing a picturesque mountain pass on horseback. The second depicts what appears to be the same man on a different expedition with his Indian guide on a snowy outcropping. The two works, inscribed with a dedication by the artist to his friend Norm Flayderman come estimated for $200,000-300,000 and $175,000-275,000, respectively.
Also featured are selections from a private Boston collector whose keen eye for quality Cape Ann school works brought him to some of the finest galleries in the Northeast to make his favored purchases. Included are such luminaries as Aldro Hibbard, William Lester Stevens, Thomas Nicholas, Emile Gruppe and others who take us through the distinct seasons for which New England is known. Gruppe’s “Autumn in Vermont” focuses on a lone tree overlooking a river valley, withering in anticipation of a long winter. It carries a presale estimate of $6,000-8,000. Nicholas’ “Valley Farm, Vermont” offers another view of the state’s rolling hills; this one depicting rural residents amid a blanket of snow. It, too, carries a $6,000-8,000 estimate. From the same collection, John Terelak’s impressionistic “Spring Trout Fishing” captures a tranquil moment on a wooded and sunlit stream. It is expected to bring $4,000-6,000. The auction continues with numerous works by these and other fine New England artists from other collections including Charles Woodbury’s “Playing in the Waves” that depicts several bathers in suits that leave everything to the imagination. It’s estimated for $10,000-15,000.
The diversity continues with numerous nautical works by such names as Louis Dodd, S.F.M. Badger, and of course Antonio Jacobsen. His depiction of the steamer “Guyandotte” cutting through the towering waves comes estimated for $8,000-12,000. Louis Dodd’s portrait of the “Roanoke” beneath the Brooklyn Bridge prior to her maiden voyage carries an estimate of $18,000-25,000. And Badger’s portrait of the “Sovereign of the Seas”, a massive three-mast schooner, is expected to bring $10,000-15,000.
A selection of illustration art includes several works by published artist Eric Pape. Pape, besides his prolific career in the arts, was instrumental in designing and circulating the petition to Congress to preserve the famous U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides) from destruction in 1906. His artwork contained in this auction includes his oil on canvas work depicting actress Clara Syde in her role as Angel of the Vision scene in “Canterbury Pilgrims”, a play performed at an outdoor festival in Gloucester, Massachusetts honoring President Howard Taft. It comes estimated for $4,000-6,000. One of Pape’s contemporaries, and famous in his own right, Dean Cornwell is represented by a large scene of an opium den showing a dimly lit dingy room that appears to have seen its share of action. It carries an estimate of $15,000-25,000.
European art is highlighted in part by Jean Frederic Schall’s “La Petite Danseuse La Rose” of a lovely young ballerina in an elaborate gown. With provenance to a French countess, the piece comes estimated for $10,000-20,000. An oil on board study attributed to Spanish artist Joaquin Bastida depicting two men taking a dip off the bow of a skiff is estimated for $15,000-25,000.
The day continues with a selection of bronzes by such renowned artists as Ferdinand Pautrot, Pierre Tourgeuneff, John Terken, and others. Other visual art includes a rare offering of five select groupings of original photos by Richard Avedon. While the photographer’s name may not be recognizable to the uninformed, the iconic images herein are known the world over to every generation on the planet. Featured are images of all four Beatles at the height of the Psychedelic era as well as lots picturing folk idol Bob Dylan. These hallowed image lots come offered with estimates ranging from $2,000 to a high of $8,000.
The second day features a vast array of antiques, furnishings and folk art including over two dozen weathervanes chosen from private collections and acquisitions from across the country. Featured will be a large and well detailed hollow molded copper grasshopper weathervane. Attributed to L.W. Cushing and Sons of Waltham, Massachusetts, it displays a marvelous verdigris and gilt surface and realistic elements. It comes estimated for $60,000-80,000. A flattened copper example attributed to A.L. Jewell, also of Waltham depicts a formal gentleman atop a trotting steed, it carries a $12,000-18,000 estimate. A large “Nelson” running horse weathervane by Washburne or Mott of New York features a well modeled horse with cast zinc head and hollow copper body. It is expected to sell for $6,000-8,000. Other examples include a rare horse drawn sleigh, a quill, a copper galleon, and a variety of animals for whichever way the wind blows.
Other folk art includes a very rare set of 25 carved and painted shore birds by master decoy carver A. Elmer Crowell. From a private collection, consigned by the grandson of the original purchaser and accompanied by the original bill of sale the desirable set carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
The auction continues with various historical documents, books, and objects from the Judge George Greene Museum of Southern History ranging from archaic fossils to American Civil War relics. Greene was one of the longest serving judges in Alabama history with over 34 years of continuous dedicated service. He was also a passionate and avid collector and researcher of history and ultimately became highly regarded for his research and collection. Of particular note will be an effigy pot in the form of a dog circa 1300 A.D. found at the Neisler Indian Mounds in Taylor County Georgia in 1928. One of the most popular exhibits at Greene’s museum, this exceedingly rare funerary object comes estimated for $20,000-30,000. Equally fascinating is a trove of original sheet music, broadsides, and photographs relating to piano virtuoso “Blind Tom” Wiggins. Born blind and possibly autistic, he was a “throw-in” when his parents and two of his purported 19 siblings were purchased by a Columbus, Georgia lawyer. Essentially born into slavery, he was discovered at a very early age to be able to memorize and mimic the most sophisticated pieces of music ever written. He could sing in German, French, and English by the age of 10. He quickly became a “prized possession” for the family and eventually became famous, performing all over the world and making his owners royal sums of money. The grouping, which took almost an entire room in the museum to display, comes estimated for $10,000-20,000.
Other historical items of note include a collaborative oil on panel created by Lambert Sachs and Paul Weber picturing General Washington at prayer at Valley Forge. Accompanied by a rare lithograph by Peter Kramer based on this very painting, the lot carries an estimate of $70,000-80,000. Also up for bid will be two lots of Presidential porcelain dinnerware. Included will be a lot consisting of two demitasse cups and saucers as well as a plate from the Harrison administration. The following lot is a rare Canton footed open salt from the Thomas Jefferson dinner service. The lots carry estimates of $1,200-1,800 and $2,000-2,500, respectively.
Also worthy of note will be a rare silk flag made by Sarah Wilson, the great granddaughter of Betsy Ross, the original creator of our stars and stripes. Patterned after Ross’ creation, it further cemented her legacy as a historical figure for all time. Ross pattern flags seldom come to public auction, so this represents a singular opportunity one may never see again. It comes estimated for $3,000-5,000. Another rare opportunity is an exceedingly rare silver Congressional Medal for Herbert Leach of the Jeannette Arctic expedition of 1879-1882. This ill fated mission soured shortly after departure, becoming trapped in an ice pack and drifting north toward the Pole for the next 21 months. Provisions dwindled and eventually the ship began to give way under the pressure of the ice and sank. Leach was one of the 25 survivors and was given this medal, which descended through the family until being consigned to Julia’s. It now comes offered with an estimate of $10,000-20,000. An important and historic Portland, Maine Civil War soldiers quilt, circa 1864, consists of a field of patchwork and appliqué red and blue stars around a central stars and stripes shield. Purported to have been created as a gift for Abraham Lincoln, it comes estimated for $8,000-12,000.
The sale is rounded out by a large selection of early American furniture from the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries. Highlights include dressers, secretaries, cabinets, tables, and much more. Day III will be dedicated to a wide selection of Asian antiques including a large offering of jade carvings, soapstone seals, porcelain export, bronzes (including Ming), scrolls and watercolors, table and floor screens, textiles, cloisonné, furniture, and much more. Of special note is a rare and finely carved rhinoceros horn figure of Budai from the Wanli Period (1573-1620). Typically depicted with a joyful expression and wearing loose fitting robes to reveal his plump stomach seated representing contentment and abundance, Budai is also associated with the protection of children and is often shown with small children playfully climbing on his belly or back. Figural carvings from rhinoceros horn are rare but the most common depictions include Manjusri and Budai. The current carving of Budai ranks among the most impressive and elaborate depictions of the subject matter. A very closely comparable carving of Budai formerly in the Ruth Dreyfus and Arthur M. Sackler collections is illustrated by Thomas Fok, Connoisseurship of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, and again by J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, and was sold at Christie’s New York in December 1994. Another related example formerly in the George and Mary Bloch collection illustrated by J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2005. This lot carries an estimate of $30,000-40,000.
More information on the Julia auction can be obtained by going to their website at www.jamesdjulia.com or calling 207-453-7125; contact Tony Greist; Department Head at firstname.lastname@example.org. Free full-color brochures are available, or their lavish, full-color, detailed and illustrated catalogs are available for $40. Previews for the auctions will be Tuesday, February 3 from 9am-5pm, and Wednesday through Friday (February 4-6) from 8-10am and during the auction sessions. The auction commences at 10am on the days of the sale at Julia’s auction facilities on Rt. 201 in Fairfield, Maine.