“Camden Mts. From the Graves,” painted as a memento and thank-you gift to a friend for a visit to Maine, sold for $1,384,000 at Skinner’s auction of American and European paintings last month.
The 13-by-22-inch luminist view of the harbor and mountains at Camden, was painted in 1862 by Fitz Henry Lane (1804-65), one of America’s foremost marine artists of the period and for whom Skinner set the world auction record in 2004 when it sold his painting “Manchester Harbor” for $5.5 million.
The second-highest price realized at the 570-lot auction, which grossed $3.2 million, was the $66,000 paid for a 11-by-9-inch painting of the costume that Leon Bakst (1866-1924), the Russian artist and scenic and costume designer, designed in 1921 for the Marchioness in the “Sleeping Beauty” ballet. The gouache, which more than quadrupled the high of its $10,000-$15,000 estimate, was from the Robert Bunting Dance Collection from which all but six of its 150 lots of dance art and memorabilia found buyers.
The auction’s third-highest price was the $60,000 paid for a 1962 limited edition print by artist and printmaker Chuck Close (1940-) of his friend the composer Phillip Glass.
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Three historic firearms collections, each the most significant of its type to have been offered at auction in recent years, headline James D. Julia’s firearms auction at 10 a.m. on Monday through Wednesday at its Fairfield, Maine, gallery.
They are the collections of automatic-loading arms of Dr. Geoffrey Sturgess of Zurich, of Kentucky long rifles of Dr. Douglas Sirkin of Buffalo, and of Kentucky pistols of Frank Sujansky of Somerset, Pa.
Sturgess’s collection of some 1,400 pieces is the most comprehensive of its type in private hands today. Among the highlights being sold on Wednesday are a cased Borchardt pistol ($150,000-
$300,000) presented to Porfirio Diaz, president of Mexico seven times between 1830-1915, and a rare prototype Luger ($100,000-$200,000) made for the Swiss-UK trials in 1899 and 1900.
Sirkin’s collection of Kentucky long rifles, together with others in the auction, makes for “the most significant collection of Kentucky rifles to be offered in history.” The highlight is a relief carved percussion rifle ($75,000-
$125,000) by James Armstrong, the Emmitsurg, Md., gunsmith considered one of the finest makers ever of Kentucky rifles.
The Sujansky collection, described as “the finest and most expansive collection of Kentucky pistols ever to come to auction,” is highlighted by a rare John Armstrong pistol believed to be the only one signed by Armstrong. The estimate is $100,000-$175,000.
The collections are all so extensive that each has been divided into a number of firearms to be sold this week with the remaining arms to be sold at Julia’s future firearms auctions.
In addition to Kentucky long rifles, Sirkin also collected early European wheel-lock arms. That collection, considered one of the finest to come to auction in recent history anywhere in the world, will be offered in two sessions, the first on Tuesday and the remaining arms at Julia’s March 2014 auction. Highlighting Tuesday’s sale is a pair of wheel-lock pistols dated 1631 from the collection of Leopold II, king of Belgium from 1865-1909. The estimate is $50,000-$150,000.
War and historical items are always features of Julia’s firearms auctions.
A historical Civil War item in this sale is the cavalry guidon of General George Cook that was used in the Civil War before he went on to become a famous Indian Wars fighter. The estimate for the small flag borne by a military unit is $40,000-$50,000.
From the Indian Wars there is an extremely rare documented Springfield carbine used at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and expected to bring $100,000-$150,000.
A unique offering from World War II is a 1941 Volkswagen Kubelwagen, the military vehicle known as the “bucket car” for its resemblance to a bathtub on wheels and that was to the Germans what the jeep was to the Allies. Captured during Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s North Africa campaign, it was shipped to the United States, where it was disassembled for the writing of an instruction manual so that GIs would know how to operate the vehicles when they were captured. The estimate is $50,000-$100,000.
Also being sold are the two Nazi SS officer’s visor caps, one black and the other white, that were brought home by a US soldier after the war. They were found in the attic of his Indiana home after he died in 1980 and his property was being sold. The caps, which are being sold in one lot with a $50,000-
$70,000 estimate, were acquired by the consignor at the estate sale.
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The exhibition “Delightfully Designed: The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard” opens Saturday at Old Sturbridge Village with a Collectors’ Forum exploring the work and story of the rural cabinetmaker, whose intricately inlaid furniture makes him a standout among his peers.
Fifteen examples of furniture made by Lombard (1777-1847), who was born in Brimfield, the son of a farmer, and lived and worked all of his adult life in Sutton, are included in the exhibition.
The furniture is from private and museum collections as well as from Old Sturbridge Village, which is one of 11 institutions taking part in Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, a yearlong collaborative project celebrating the Bay State’s legacy of furniture making.
A highlight of the exhibition is a 7-foot-tall cherry desk-and-bookcase with an intricately carved pediment, floral inlays, and shield and eagle marquetry, which is on loan from Winterthur Museum, in Wilmington, Del.
A bow-front chest-of-drawers and a drop-leaf table that Old Sturbridge Village recently acquired will be on display.
Saturday’s 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Collectors’ Forum, featuring a panel of scholars and leaders from the decorative arts field, is headed by Brock Jobe, professor of American decorative arts at Winterthur. The fee for the forum, which is open to the public, is $80 and $65 for Old Sturbridge Village members. For details and to register visit www.osv
.org/antiques or phone 800-SEE-1830.
Virginia Bohlin can be reached at vboh