George Washington Portrait Tops Sloans & Kenyon’s

The highlight of Sloans & Kenyon’s three-day estate catalog auction, November 9–11, was a rare and historic portrait of George Washington by William Francis Williams (American, 1759–1823), which sold for $398,000. The portrait was sold to benefit the Franklin Tree Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Madison, Va., which is directed by John Francis Williams, a descendant of the painter. Bidding opened at $180,000, and then two phone bidders battled for the portrait that was painted during Washington’s second presidential term in 1794 and depicts the first president in Masonic regalia.

Sloans & Kenyon grossed $2.36 million in what was the highest auction total in its four-year history. The auction featured property from collections and estates from around the world, offered to 848 bidders also from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe, India, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and the Philippines.

The auction included 58 lots of luxury goods purchased by Washington Teachers’ Union president, Barbara Bullock, with embezzled union funds. Sloans & Kenyon recovered $106,710 for the union from the auction of fur coats, dozens of designer hand bags including Chanel and Hermès, Herend china, and a 288-piece service of Tiffany Chrysanthemum flatware, among other items.

Auction highlights included fine art such as a Reginald Marsh (American, 1898–1954), tempera on Masonite titled, “500,000 Czechs on Nazi Front,” 1938, which went to $146,000, well above its $40/60,000 estimate; Tsugoharu Foujita (Japanese/French, 1896–1968), “A la Fenetra,” an oil on canvas, signed lower left, which realized $90,750; a Whanki Kim (Korean, 1913–1974), untitled oil on canvas, signed Whanki, dated 71, also exceeded its high estimate selling for $84,960; a Paul Henry, RHA (Irish, 1877–1958), “Spring In Wicklow (Ireland),” oil on canvas went to $82,600; and Henry Moore (English, 1898–1986), “Upright Connected Forms,” 1979, bronze with a golden brown patina, signed and numbered 6/7 on the base, brought $44,700.

One of the auction’s highlights, a gold-mounted baton presented to “Anchors Aweigh” composer Charles A. Zimmerman, was withdrawn the week before the auction after Sloans & Kenyon discovered it was the baton that had been missing from the US Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Md., since 2006.

In conjunction with the auction, on November 6, Sloans & Kenyon held a reception for 150 people to honor Albert Sack who conducted a book-signing of his newly published Fine Points of Furniture , revised edition.

All prices reported include the buyer’s premium of 18 percent.

Sloans & Kenyon’s next estate catalog auction will be February 8–10 at its gallery, 7034 Wisconsin Avenue. For information, 301-634-2330 or www.sloansandkenyon.com .

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