Skinner's American Art Sale celebrates the nation's landscape and spirit
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Skinner's American Art Sale celebrates the nation's landscape and spirit
Charles Courtney Curran (American, 1861-1942), Picnic Supper on the Sand Dunes, Oil on canvas, 12 x 19 3/4 in. (30.5 x 50.5 cm), framed. Signed, dated. Est. $50,000-70,000.

MARLBOROUGH, MASS.- Skinner Auctioneers announced an upcoming live auction of American Art on May 25, starting at 10 a.m. EDT, at Skinner’s Marlborough gallery, to be accompanied by an online sale of Prints & Photographs, available for bidding from May 16 to 26, 2022. Ranging across centuries from the early Hudson River School to early American Modernism, the sale features masterworks by some of this country’s greatest painters and sculptors, with something for everyone in its striking eclecticism.

The live auction is notable for its collection of American landscapes, as diverse in style and provenance as the country’s own terrain. A fantastic example of Western grandeur is presented in Edgar Alwin Payne’s Topmost Trail (est. $70,000-90,000). Depicting a pack rider roaming across Eastern Sierra, on the remote side of California's Sierra Nevada range, this work captures a sweeping view of one of the artist’s favorite regions. Payne, who sojourned deep into California’s remotest areas to capture the solitude and majesty of the American West, rarely included signs of human life in his portrayal of the Sierras; in this notable exception, the horses and rider accentuate the overpowering magnitude of the mountain face that dominates the background. Similarly evocative of the continent’s natural majesty—albeit from the opposite coast—is an 1890 landscape by Charles Courtney Curran, Picnic Supper on the Sand Dunes (est. $50,000-70,000), which doubles as a formidable example of the American Impressionist’s idyllic depictions of women.

Forays into folk art include a painting by 20th century furniture decorator Ralph Eugene Cahoon, Jr., who employed his distinctive, flattened Pennsylvania-Dutch style to Cape Cod Hospital Outpatient Clinic (est. $18,000-22,000). Acquired by a New England surgeon after it was donated by the artist to a benefit auction for The Heart Fund, Cape Cod, it has remained in family descent until this year, and appears on the auction block for the first time since its commission. Julian Onderdonk, an impressionist often called “the father of Texan painting,” and whose works were featured in the White House during the latter Bush presidency, appears at auction with an exquisitely mannered small landscape, Woodland Stream in Autumn (est. $18,000-22,000)

The eclectic live auction also includes a small selection of fine sculpture, including some fantastic works in marble and clay. Foremost among them is a statue of St. John the Evangelist by the profoundly influential Thomas Ball (est. $15,000-25,000), which stands at nearly four feet in height and is carved from Carrara marble.

The online sale of Prints & Photographs carries out the live show’s theme of stylistic variety, with several notable works by MIT professor and photographic innovator Harold “Doc” Edgerton, as well as iconic images by Eikoh Hosoe, Ernst Haas and Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Seminal works by marquee artists abound in the print collection, including limited runs by Warhol, Miró, and Picasso. A house favorite at Skinner is a series of illustrations by Gaugin, commissioned for a book of poetry by Mallarmé (est. $6,000-8,000 ), which includes an impression of the second state; the canceled plate; and the restored plate. A unique and interesting series, the work grants insights into publishing practices at the time and represents for the owner a private look into the artistic process of one of Impressionism’s great masters.

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May 20, 2022

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