A painting by Eugène Boudin (1824-98) given by the French Impressionist to the wife of Boston artist Frederick Porter Vinton (1846- 1911) as a remembrance of the Vintons’ visit in 1890 to Trouville, Boudin’s birthplace, was the top seller at Northeast Auctions’ Memorial Day Weekend Auction.
“The Beach at Trouville,” an 8¾-inch by 16¾-inch oil on panel inscribed “a Madame Vinton Souvenir 1890 Trouville” sold for $542,400, more than six times the low of its $90,000-$150,000 estimate, following competitive bidding from Europe, the United States, Israel, and Asia. The painting, which depicts Victorian-clad men and women seated in chairs on the beach under huge parasols, was purchased by a European dealer.
During their visit to France the Vintons also visited the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley in Moret-sur-Loing, an idyllic rural village by the picturesque Loing River where Impressionists, including Monet and Renoir, often came to paint. While he was there, Vinton demonstrated his new-found skill as an Impressionist by painting “La Blanchisseuse” (“The Washer Woman”), which depicts a woman kneeling on the riverbank and washing her clothes. The 14-by-20-inch oil, which was never exhibited until after Vinton’s death, is now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts and on view in the Croll Gallery.
Other offerings that soared above their estimates were a 4-inch-high perfume bottle and a Chinese export 4⅞
inch-diameter Chinese export porcelain Famille verte bowl with a Kangxi mark (1662-1722).
The green glass perfume bottle, its gilt-metal cover affixed with opals and diamonds created in 1905 by the French designer René Lalique using the cire perdue (lost wax) method, sold for $284,800 against a $40,000-$60,000 estimate. The bowl painted with a robed traveler seated before a saddled horse and beside his companion playing a lute inside her tent was purchased by an Asian buyer for $251,200 or 628 times the low of its $400-$600 estimate, underscoring the continuing strength of the market for Asian works of art.
An 1829 whale’s tooth engraved by Frederick Myrick with a portrait of the ship Susan of Nantucket brought the auction’s fourth-highest price of $96,000. The estimate was $60,000-
All but five of the 58 lots in the collection of Italian Venini glass, Italian antique furniture, and fine art from the estate of Laura Venini Hillyer of Beverly sold, with the top seller a red-and-white murrine experimental bowl that fetched $20,400 against a $4,000-
$6,000 estimate. Hillyer, who died in January at 87, was the daughter of the famous Venetian glassmaker Paolo Venini.
Other top sellers from the collection included a lot of small Italian glass objects ($12,000 against a $500-$800 estimate) and a Russian icon of the Ascension of Christ ($11,400 against $900-
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Edward Hopper (1882-1967), the Nyack, N.Y.-born realist painter who spent six months of the year at his home in Truro, continues to rack up auction records.
Last fall, his 1928 painting “October on Cape Cod” set a record for the most expensive item ever sold to an online bidder at any international auction house when it brought $9.6 million at Christie’s American art auction.
Last month his painting of Blackwell’s Island, the 2-mile long island in New York’s East River, became the top seller at Christie’s American art auction when it sold for $19.2 million, the highest price ever achieved for a single work of art at a Christie’s American art sale. It was followed by the $4.2 million paid for his 1932 watercolor of the Kelly Jenness House on Cape Cod, which set a world auction record for a work on paper by the artist.
The auction’s third-highest price was the $2 million paid for Norman Rockwell’s “Starstruck,” a 1934 oil on canvas depicting an enraptured boy looking at pictures of movie stars.
The auction, which saw all of the top 10 lots selling for over their estimates, all but two of them over their high estimates, grossed $50.8 million.
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“Rainy Night, Berlin,” a circa 1920s oil painting by the German Impressionist Lesser Ury (1861-1931), known for his urban landscapes pictured under dark, cloud-filled or moonlit skies, was the top seller at Skinner’s Fine Paintings & Sculpture Auction last month. The 41¼-inch by 26¾-inch painting of a dark and rain-drenched street sold for $220,000 against an $80,000-$120,000 estimate.
The expected top seller, “The River Epte, Giverny,” a circa 1887 oil by the Boston artist John Leslie Breck (1860-99), considered by many the father of American Impressionism, sold for $70,000. Its estimate was $100,000-
The auction’s second-highest price was the $100,000 paid for a painting of a rainbow over a lake in the Hudson River Valley by the Charleston, S.C.-
born artist Louis Remy Mignot (1831-70). The estimate was $30,000-
Other top lots included a hanging sculpture of crocheted oxidized copper wire by the Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa (1926-) that went for $60,000 against a $30,000-$40,000 estimate; “A Lane in Kerry,” a 1914 oil on artist board by the Irish artist Jack Butler Yeats (1872-1957) that sold for $55,000 against a $50,000-$70,000 estimate, and “Hilltop, Autumn, Maine,” a 1923 watercolor and crayon of Burnt Hill, Stonington, Deer Isle, Maine, by John Marin (1870-1953) that fetched $45,000 against a $30,000-$50,000 estimate.
Also among the top 10 sellers were a 1975 gouache on paper of two duelers ($37,500 against $25,000-$35,000) by Alexander Calder (1898-1976); an oil painting of Boston Common in winter inscribed by the Kentucky-born artist Frank Duveneck (1848-1919) to “Miss Annie Di. . . /Xmas 1881/FD” ($26,000 against $10,000-$15,000); and “Yellowlegs,” a 1920s watercolor of sandpipers by Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951) believed to have been painted in Eastham near Nauset Light Beach ($23,000 against $22,000-$28,000).
Virginia Bohlin can be reached at vboh