Estate of Celia Thaxter Hubbard Auction

. July 22, 2014

Dedham, MA: On Friday, August 1st, Grogan and Company will conduct an auction featuring a wide array of items from the Estate of Celia Thaxter Hubbard. The contents of her Cambridge and Brewster, Massachusetts homes include a vast collection of folk art, decorative arts, paintings, American furniture, silver, and jewelry. There will be approximately three hundred catalogued lots followed by a selection of discovery items drawn from her collection.

Selection of items from the Estate of Celia Thaxter Hubbard

Selection of items from the Estate of Celia Thaxter Hubbard

Celia Thaxter Hubbard (1920-2013) was an artist, writer, photographer, and founder of the acclaimed Botolph Group on Newbury Street in Boston. A leading figure in Boston’s art world throughout the second half of the 20th century, Hubbard fostered the careers of artists including Sister Corita Kent, Rita DeLisi, Norman Laliberte, Tomie dePaola, and Robert Cronin.

A Boston and Cambridge native, Hubbard began her career in New York City working in advertising before moving to France where she satisfied her creative side as a set and costume designer for the Grand Ballet du Marquis De Cuevas. While in France, Hubbard abandoned her Protestant upbringing and converted wholeheartedly to Catholicism, and even considered becoming a Carmelite nun. While she never pursued the sisterhood, her faith would direct her future as an artist and a devout supporter of the arts throughout her lifetime.

Two years after returning to Boston, Hubbard founded the Botolph Group on Newbury Street in 1954 as a nonprofit center and gallery with a mission to improve the standard of Catholic religious art, objects, and spaces. The gallery quickly gained nationwide recognition for its annual exhibition of Corita’s work. In 1969, the director of the Boston Theological Institute described the Botolph Group as “a rallying place, an identifying symbol, for many Catholics, Protestants, and many of no church, who feel instinctively that a center which has good taste, reflects a zest for life…is speaking to their hearts and minds.”

After two decades of success, Hubbard closed the doors of the Botolph Group to focus on her own creative efforts in painting, photography, poetry, metaphysics, antiques, and folk arts. Hubbard’s obituary in the Cambridge Day described her as “a deeply spiritual woman who filled notebooks with poems and reflections, Miss Hubbard was fascinated by hearts, doves, owls, rainbows, sunsets, trucks, dogs and small children, all of which made their way into her paintings and photographs.” Her collection reflects her enthusiasm for life and ability to find beauty and soul in objects from the past.

Hubbard’s extraordinary eye for folk art is exemplified by highlights in the auction including a whimsical and patriotic Elaborately Painted Wood Whirlygig featuring “Uncle Sam” estimated at $1,500-2,500. A collection of 19th century weathervanes include a Banner Weatherwane and a Sheet Iron Two Sided Painted Weathervane each bearing an $800-1,200 estimate. Additional folk art highlights include a selection of Trade Signs, a large collection of Primitive Wooden Toys and Decorative Objects, and a selection of Painted Game Boards.

Through her relationship with artists and her aptitude for collecting, Hubbard amassed a notable assemblage of paintings from all periods and genres. The wide array of paintings include eight crayon on paper drawings by outsider artist Eddie Arning (American, 1898-1993). One particularly charming Arning titled I Know You Can Keep a Secret depicts a young girl whispering into the ear of a horse and measures 16 x 22 in. and is estimated to bring $800-$1,200. Another fine art highlight from an earlier period is an oval Portrait of Eliot Hubbard and His Daughter by American artist Albert Lynch (b. 1851). The classic oil on canvas portrait measures 21 x 29 in. and is estimated at $2,000-4,000. Hubbard’s estate also includes the Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008) lithograph titled Drawings from Danye’s Inferno – Price. The lithograph measures 15 x 16 in. and is estimated at $3,000-5,000.

American furniture also caught Hubbard’s eye as she sought out distinguished pieces for her collection. A Fine 18th Century Chippendale Figured Mahogany Serpentine Chest is estimated to bring $5,000-7,000 while another Chippendale Figured Mahogany Serpentine Chest is estimated at $2,000-4,000. An American Classical Mahogany Secretaire Abbatant is estimated at $1,000-1,500. Country American furniture highlights include a 19th Century Red Painted Pine Oval Top Hutch Table bearing an $800-1,200 estimate and an impressive Red Painted Pewter Hutch that stands 83 in. tall bears a $1,000-1,500 estimate. A Late 19th Century Louis Vuitton Steamer Trunk rounds out the furniture offerings with a $500-800 estimate.

The decorative arts featured in the Hubbard estate offer something for every collector’s interest. Highlights include a Rare Marblehead Pottery Panther Vase with a $2,000-4,000 estimate and an Inuit Carved Stone Relief with a $600-800 estimate. An early Continental Carved and Painted Christ Figure boasts a $1,000-1,500 estimate while a Set of Four Chinese Painted Panels, possibly from the Ming Dynasty, are estimated at $2,000-4,000. Additional decorative art offerings include a selection of Samplers and Theorem Paintings, an Assortment of Polychrome Carved Wood Figures, and a small grouping of Goose and Duck Decoys.

Silver and jewelry buyers will be equally captivated by the offerings including a Bigelow Bros. Kennard Six Piece Coin Silver Coffee and Tea Service estimated at $1,500-2,000. Jewelry highlights include an impressive Yellow Gold, Silver, Diamond, and Ruby Necklace comprised ornate floral-form panels estimated at $400-600, as well as a large collection of high quality Victorian and Art Deco Paste Jewelry.

The auction will be held at Grogan and Company’s 22 Harris Street, Dedham, Massachusetts Gallery on Friday, August 1st at 12:00 noon. The exhibition is open to the public and begins on Tuesday, July 29th. Exhibition hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Friday. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. For more information, call 781-461-9500 or visit www.groganco.com to view the partially illustrated catalogue and terms and conditions of sale.

Category: Auction News

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