Samoset Antiques & Fine Art Auction

James D. Julia’s spectacular antiques & fine art auction at the Samoset Resort in Rockland, Maine, has long been the pinnacle of the summer auction season. With each passing year, the Fairfield, Maine, auction firm amazes and delights auction goers with an even greater offering of fine antiques than the previous year, consistently exceeding the last in quality and quantity. This time the three-day extravaganza will feature over 1,700 lots with a total presale estimate of over $6 million, making it their biggest summer antiques auction to date. Without doubt, this spectacular sale will be the finest offering of fine art and antiques ever to be offered in the state of Maine.

Sharing center stage will be the contents of the Richard Paine Estate of Seal Cove, Maine, whose auto museum was a world renowned attraction. His tremendous collection of folk art, weathervanes, pottery, and mechanical banks is sure to receive much attention. Joining this estate will be the high style Victorian contents of a Gulf Coast mansion, contents of a combined Thomaston, Maine and Beacon Hill, Boston estate, various Maine estate collections as well as selections from the seemingly unending cache of quality goods from the Woolworth Collection, which Julia’s has had the honor of selling over several prior auctions.

Featuring nearly 750 pieces of fine artwork, most of which comprises an entire day of selling, the auction boasts their finest array of artwork to date. Two such works come directly from the Woolworth Collection, famed department store magnates of the early 20th century. The first is a landscape scene by Belgian artist Eugene Verboeckhoven of a shepherd leading his sheep back home through verdant pastures before the approaching storm hits. Exquisitely rendered, it hung prominently in the Woolworth’s Monmouth, Maine, residence and carries an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. This is followed by a large and masterful oil on panel rendition of George III by Sir William Beechey featuring the British king in military regalia perched atop his noble steed overseeing a cavalry charge below. This piece is expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000.

The offering of art also includes various European and Russian works and a huge lot of American paintings representing both coasts. Eastern regional favorites include Rockport-Gloucester artist Emile Gruppe who shares company with several Maine artists in an assortment of genres and mediums. The ever-popular Gruppe family has long been a staple in Julia’s auctions and this sale is no different in that regard. Collectors will be pleased with ten works to choose from including Drying the Sails that depicts the quintessential New England waterfront scene with numerous fishing and sailing boats at port. This piece is expected to sell for $20,000 to $25,000. From a private Maine collection, a large watercolor by John Marin titled “Small Point, Maine,” is an impressionistic scene of a wooded tract in gorgeous pastels that is expected to bring $50,000 to 70,000.? An outstanding and stunningly realistic oil on canvas scene of coastal Rhode Island with rolling waves entitled Rocks at Narragansett, R.I., by William Haseltine comes to the block with a $30,000 to $40,000 estimate. Modern New Englanders include a number of works by Thomas Nicholas such as his oil on canvas scene of Gloucester Harbor in winter showing two figures tending to nets on a snow covered wharf under the afternoon sky. Originally commissioned by Robert Slack, the piece carries a $25,000 to $35,000 estimate.

And from the west, showing the diversity of America’s grand countryside, a variety of California artists will also be featured.? Included will be six examples by Phillips Frisbie Lewis that descended through the artist’s family until being consigned to Julia’s.? These fresh to the market works that have never before been offered publicly include west coast landscapes such as Jacks Peak, a gorgeous vista of Monterey, California’s rolling hills in the background, somewhat obstructed by a cluster of slender saplings.? In a palette of muted blues, greens and browns, it comes with an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.

The sale continues with a variety of American artists such as Marguerite Zorach whose brilliant Crimson Moon shows an earthbound moon rising above black water into a deep blue sky that is expected to bring $40,000 to $50,000. Thomas Doughty’s tranquil country scene of a young boy seated on a wooden bridge, fishing in the stream below, is most appealing. Housed in an elaborate gilt frame, it comes with a $20,000 to $30,000 estimate.

One of the most recognized names in American art, Norman Rockwell will be represented by an oil on board study of several hands and forearms in shades of brown and tan. It is accompanied by a letter signed by Rockwell thanking the original purchaser and stating the impetus for the work was “simply an idea” he had for a charitable poster that never materialized. It is expected to fetch $60,000 to $90,000. Equally renowned, N.C. Wyeth is represented by his depiction of close-knit buildings serving as the background to a yard showing a clothesline strewn with drying clothes. This oil on canvas scene carries an estimate of $20,000 to $40,000.

Other American art includes an interesting portrait by George Luks of a young girl wearing a mauve dress holding a lavender hat in her lap that is expected to bring $35,000 to $45,000. An oil on canvas winter scene titled Hunt Mountain, Winter 1951 by Carl Sprinchorn shows a tree-lined blue stream leading to a series of low mountains. Formerly housed in the Bates College Museum of art, it carries a $40,000 to $50,000 estimate. A massive duo of Civil War paintings will certainly command attention. One of which, Henry Bispham’s The Foragers’ Return-1864, depicts a number of sword-wielding Northern soldiers on horseback, presumably raiding a Southern farm as they herd a stampede of cattle and sheep. This magnificent and mammoth piece is believed to be the largest work ever created by the artist and carries an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.

The auction also contains a marvelous array of European artists, including 19th-Century German Adolf Schreyer. His monumental oil on canvas action-packed winter scene depicts a horse-drawn sleigh carrying a military officer fending off an advancing pair of wolves. In the midst of the altercation, his startled team of horses rear up while the driver remains intent on reaching safety.? Full of action, this important piece carries an? estimate of $75,000 to $100,000.

Enjoying a relatively new surge in popularity are Russian artists. Recent Julia auctions have showcased works by Ivan Fedorovich Choultse with outstanding results. This time around will be a chilling winter scene of a small river winding through snow covered trees against a sun drenched mountainous backdrop. His stunningly realistic paintings are always a high point and this work comes with a $30,000 to $50,000 estimate. In addition will be Choultse’s comrades, fellow Russian artists Aleksandr Beggrov and Ilya Mashkov. The former’s representation of a tranquil harbor shows three women walking toward the viewer with a two-mast schooner with other smaller boats across the way.? This oil on canvas coastal scene is expected to sell for $40,000 to $60,000.

A splendid selection of art will also be available in the second of three sessions with the focus on folk art, portraits, and works of a nautical flavor. But it is a truly extraordinary carved wood figure of the Goddess of Liberty that is certain to steal the spotlight.? This rare and important, life-size polychrome carving shows the American icon holding a sword, laurel wreath, and federal shield.? This figure originally resided in Tammany Hall in New York City during the late teens. Never having been offered at public auction, it carries a presale estimate of $100,000 to $200,000.

The folk art section is further highlighted by thirteen paintings by Earl Cunningham. An assortment of the artist’s works is currently on a nationwide tour organized by the Smithsonian. The selection here, recently discovered in a New England home includes a variety of seaside scenes such as a marvelous farm scene at the water’s edge with an island in the foreground with several disproportionate ships, cows, and waterfowl milling about. This active work is expected to fetch $20,000 to $30,000.

From the Richard Pain Estate, an unprecedented offering of 18 Percy Sanborn paintings includes landscapes, various domestic animal portraits, and of course a ship portrait, for which the Belfast, Maine artist is most renowned. His portrait of the three-mast ship Ivanhoe depicts the black hulled vessel cutting through the choppy green seas and carries a $15,000 to $20,000 presale estimate.

Paine’s tastes in all things nautical extended into artifacts such as the actual sternboards from various ships, the last thing you see as they sail off into the sunset. One from the Percy Cann, a circa 1900 steamship that was wrecked in December 1905 off Nova Scotia, features a carved spread eagle over elaborate scrollwork. Salvaged from the wreckage it now comes with a $20,000 to $30,000 estimate.

Also from the Pain Estate, in the rare and unusual category, is an American weathervane in the form of a full-bodied standing mule. Circa late 19th century, this possibly unique form is expected to hit $20,000 to $30,000. From other collections, the variety of vanes includes a full-body copper example in the form of a leaping stag that carries a $10,000 to $20,000 estimate.

Accessories include an exceedingly rare American Pilot chart book published by William Norman in 1803. Detailing the eastern coast of North America from Nova Scotia to Maryland and also includes a chart for the West Indies, this was a must for early seafarers braving the new and unfamiliar territory. Earlier this year, Julia’s sold a similar chart book from 1794 that resulted in a bidding battle, finally reaching over $408,000 against an estimate of $50,000 to $100,000.? This example is expected to fetch $40,000 to $60,000. For another breed of book collector will be a collection of eight signed books from the personal library of President John Adams. Consisting of the works of Moliere, each volume is signed and dated by President Adams as well as annotated with his musings of various uses and meanings of words as they relate to alternative translations of philosophical thought. The books were purchased in the 1930’s by the consignor’s family from Annie F.H. Boyd (a descendant of John Adams) and this sale marks their first public offering. The set is expected to draw $20,000 to $40,000.

This session also includes a large quantity of early American and European furniture. An important Regency satinwood inlaid slant lid desk painted by John Whessell shows overall paint decoration with floral sprays and bowtie drapery with the lid painted with a classical country landscape featuring a portrait of a racehorse. The amazing craftsmanship and artistry of this piece brings with it a $25,000 to $35,000 estimate.

This is joined by four outstanding New England highboys, highlighted by a bonnet top example in cherry, circa 1780. Featuring a molded swan’s neck pediment, spiral carved finials above the central fan carving, and raised on bandy cabriole legs, it carries an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

Other furniture includes clocks, beds, card tables, chairs, as well as a Southern Federal inlaid mahogany sideboard. Originating in South Carolina, but having spent many years in a fine home in Bucksport, Maine, it carries an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.? And a New England Chippendale curly maple chest-on-chest from the second half of the 18th Century features a molded cornice fitted with an arrangement of graduated drawers over the molded lower case consisting of three longer graduated drawers. The highly figured chest with soft mellow patina carries a $10,000 to $15,000 estimate.

From a family renowned for their silversmiths, the first session of the auction contains an important snuff box attributed to Paul Revere II. Its oval form has a frame made from coin silver enclosing a lid and base of tortoise shell that is decorated with an engraved inscription “Liberty is Pleasant” within a banner above a winged heart motif. It is thought that this could have been a personal item made by Paul Revere II, and comes with a $30,000 to $50,000 estimate.

This session’s furniture offerings center on elaborate Victorian and custom pieces and accessories including Herter, Belter, Meeks, Horner, Mallard, Hagen, and others. A monumental museum quality Rococo rosewood Ètag‘re attributed to Belter (circa 1860) features a finely carved crest with a cherub holding a floral garland over two columns fraught with intricately carved birds, flowers, vines, and leaves. This all original piece represents a phenomenal find and carries an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. Many of this session’s offerings come from an expansive Gulf Coast private collection including a Belter carved rococo rosewood marble top center table that features ornate carvings of floral sprays throughout, is raised on four floral carved cabriole legs, and is joined by an elaborately carved X-stretcher. It is expected to bring $25,000 to $40,000. A custom Herter Brothers marquetry dressing table and mirror commissioned by the Vanderbilt Family in ebonized cherry, it features marquetry stylized floral branches, chrysanthemum flower heads, and budding sprigs on the frieze and mirror supports.? It carries an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.

From the extensive Gulf Coast collection, a monumental R.J. Horner carved mahogany parlor suite consists of two armchairs and a settee. These substantial pieces with heavily carved foliate and plume design are further enhanced by full bodied chimera supports, all resting on massive claw feet. The set is expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000. A fine American rosewood and walnut Victorian four-piece bedroom suite is comprised of a half-tester bed, double-door armoire, marble top chest of drawers, and commode. Each elaborate piece features scrolling crest with flower and leaf carvings supported by two spiral twist pilasters. Its massive elegance cannot be ignored and carries a $12,000 to $18,000 estimate.

In the clock category, there is a fine Regency figured mahogany tall case regulator clock. From the first quarter of the 19th century, this exquisite timekeeper with a case that features an arched molded cornice and brass ball finial also contains a conforming silvered dial signed “Thos. De Lasalle London”.? From a fine Downeast Maine collection, it comes with an estimate of $18,000 to $22,000. From the same collection comes an important Renaissance Revival Gothic burl walnut bracket clock. Of architectural form, the case is headed by three carved Gothic spire finials, carved with scrolling leaf tips, opening to a silvered dial and a brass movement fitted with eight bells. It is expected to sell for $10,000 to $15,000. For a smaller timepiece, perhaps it is a rare automaton minute repeater gold watch that strikes your fancy. This 18K French hunter case contains a high jewel movement and a colorfully enameled face that features two Victorian ladies whose hands strike a bell to mark the hours and minutes. This superb item carries an estimate of $11,500 to $15,000.

Previews are Monday, August 25, 12 noon to 6 p.m. and August 26-28, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The auction commences at 10 a.m. August 26-28. Free full-color, detailed, illustrated brochures are available by contacting the Julia offices. A two-volume full-color catalog is available for $35 each or both for $60. For all the latest updates and for complete online version of the catalog including artist listing, visit Julia’s Web site at www.juliaauctions.com.

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