Wyeth paintings, maritime ship portraits and Americana on the auction block at Bonhams this Fall

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Wyeth paintings, maritime ship portraits and Americana on the auction block at Bonhams this Fall
A diorama "In The Lead - The Flying Fish. William E. Hitchcock (American, 1928-2006) and William Paul Hitchcock (American, 1951-2006), the hull built up in in wood and finished with black topsides, with scored decks fitted with deck houses, ships boats and numerous figures, under full sail with standing and running rigging, set in an undulating, clear water diorama with Pilot whales leading her, and displayed within a glass case with brass trim on a cherry stand. 21-1/4 x 15-1/8 x 14 in. (53.9 x 38.4 x 35.5 cm.) cased. Est. $6,000 - 8,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

PORTSMOUTH, NH.- Bonhams auction of Furniture, Decorative Arts, Paintings & Maritime Works of Art from an Important New England Collection will fill the Frank Jones Center on October 15 with 500 lots of historic Americana, regional fine art, whimsical decorative items and notable paintings.

The sale features an extremely broad range of items, giving collectors an unprecedented opportunity to acquire significant pieces at excellent values. A majority of the items will be offered without reserve.

The top lot of the auction is a masterwork by Jamie Wyeth titled Julia on the Swing (est. $150,000-$250,000). Painted in 1999, the painting encompasses all of the hallmarks of Wyeth's oeuvre - dreamlike imagery, intertwined with obsessive detail and ‘ordinary’ subjects. Julia on the Swing is also indicative of Wyeth's interest in illustration as a genre and the use of theatrical effects to convey emotion.

The sale includes further works by Jamie Wyeth including the painting Me and My Vulture (est. $80,000-$120,000), which is representative of the artist’s ornithological interests and is consistent with his imagery of animal life. N.C. Wyeth, grandfather of Jamie Wyeth, will also be represented with Seascape, Maine (est. $60,000-$80,000), which most likely depicts the coastline near the Wyeth summer home in Port Clyde, Maine. A selection of works by other Maine artists such as Abraham Bogdanove, Andrew Winter and Peter Poskas also are featured.

Collectors of Maritime works of art will be pleased with the sale’s 90-lot, strong section of maritime-related pieces, including paintings, ship models, dioramas, clocks, barometers and decorative objects. The collection features several fine ship portraits, including two by Antonio Jacobsen – Steamship Brazos (est. $10,000-$15,000) and The SS Ponce at Sea (est. $10,000-$15,000), as well as Frank Vining Smith’s elegantly serene The S.S. Del Brazil off the coast of Rio de Janeiro (est. $6,000-$8,000). Collectors of historic maritime paintings will enjoy Anton Otto Fischer’s To the Rescue (est. $4,000-$6,000), an excellent example of the artist’s work related to the struggle of surviving natural disasters at sea. Also on offer is contemporary artist Anthony D. Blake’s Fair Wind to Victory (est. $20,000-$30,000), depicting the first America’s Cup in 1851, as the schooner yacht America crosses the finish line.

In addition, the sale showcases many exquisitely detailed ship models, such as the 20th century mirrored back presentation half-model of the steam yacht Lyndonia (est. $7,000-$10,000), built for Cyrus H.K. Curtis, founder of Curtis Publishing, and a fine shipbuilders' model of the passenger ship S.S. Sicilia for the P&O Line (est. $25,000-$35,00), circa 1900. The dioramas on offer are equally beautiful, with William E. Hitchcock’s In The Lead - The Flying Fish (est. $6,000-$8,000) being of particular note.

American lamps and chandeliers by some of the leading glass houses of the turn of the 20th century are also featured. Led by an attractive group of floral and geometric patterned table lamps by Tiffany Studios, this impressive assemblage is also rich in lighting fixtures produced by Handel; Duffner & Kimberly; Bigelow and Kennard; J. A. Whaley; and Pairpoint, to name a few. Highlights include a Tiffany Studios Turtleback Tile, Favrile glass and bronze geometric table lamp (est. $20,000–30,000); a Duffner and Kimberly and Handel leaded glass and patinated-metal Trumpet Vine floor lamp (est. $8,000–12,000); and a Handel reverse-painted glass and patinated metal San Remo table lamp decorated with sailing ships on the high sea (est. $5,000–7,000).

A significant group of nearly 20 early American flags dating from the 19th century, including several from the Civil War and pre-Civil War periods is also on offer. The design of Old Glory was not dictated by any strict directives during this period, and consequently these flags are truly unique expressions of American folk art. One striking example on offer is the 34-starred Civil War period flag of unusual elongated form (est. $3,000-$5,000). Among the other Americana in this auction is a collection of political buttons and memorabilia, and several whimsical groups of painted and metal signs.

Of particular New England interest is a group of finely cast animal bronzes by contemporary Maine sculptor Forest Hart. Hart has dedicated his career to carefully observed and emotive bronzes of wildlife. The pair of patinated bronze running bears (est. $1,800-$2,400) on offer beautifully captures the movement and power of this remarkable artist’s work.

The sale includes a very large collection of more than 180 lots of Royal Doulton glazed earthenware figures and character jugs, with subjects ranging from Dickens’ characters to Lady Di. Among the silver, a George V sterling silver six-piece tea and coffee service (est. $4,000-$6,000) is particularly attractive.

To view the full auction, and to purchase a catalogue, please visit bonhams.com.

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