Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Swann Galleries June 9, auction of American Art: Sheeler, Dove, Gifford, Wiggins

On Thursday, June 9, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of American Art featuring works of early American modernism and a recently discovered Hudson River School painting.

             Headlining the sale is New York #3–Study, a 1950 gouache and pencil on paper by American modernist painter and photographer Charles Sheeler. The painting is characteristic of Sheeler’s work around 1950, which reduced objects and buildings to colorful, planar forms. New York #3–Study depicts an abstracted Rockefeller Center, with attention paid to the shadows on 30 Rockefeller Center and the International Building; it is estimated at $100,000 to $150,000.  

Patent Cereals Company, Geneva, New York, a watercolor, circa 1938, by Sheeler’s fellow modernist Arthur Dove, is also part of the sale. It is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

             Another highlight is a recently discovered canvas by second-generation Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford, Study of the Parthenon, oil on canvas, 1869. Gifford painted the Athenian temple both en plein air and after sketches he made during an 1869 visit to Greece. The study relates to a larger painting of the same subject,  

Ruins of the Parthenon, which resides in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Study of the Parthenon is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.

             Also included is Mexican painter and illustrator Miguel Covarrubias’s At Leroy’s, circa 1924.  This watercolor, pen and ink piece went on to be illustrated as plate 42 in Covarrubias's 1927 book Negro Drawings, depicting his perceptions of the Harlem Renaissance. A black and white study for this piece, titled The Last Jump, is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and was on view in America is Hard to See, the inaugural exhibition at the museum’s new building. At Leroy’s is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

             The sale also includes a run of works by New York artist Guy C. Wiggins. Known for his paintings depicting snowy street scenes in New York, the Wiggins works in this auction include  

Chicago Blizzard, oil on canvas, 1920s ($40,000 to $60,000);  

Fifth Avenue Storm, oil on canvas board ($30,000 to $50,000);

and Winter Along Central Park, oil on canvas, 1930s ($30,000 to $50,000); among others.

Other paintings in the sale featuring the city that never sleeps include two works by John Marin:

City Movement, New York, watercolor, 1925 ($15,000 to $20,000);

and Sunset, Manhattan, colored pencil and pencil ($8,000 to $12,000).