Form, Line, Color, & Value: Qualities Abound in American & European Works of Art Auction at Skinner, May 19

Alex Katz (American, b. 1927) Ada with Flowers, 1980 (Lot 89, Estimate: $6,000-8,000)

BOSTON, MASkinner, Inc. will present an impressive selection of American & European Works of Art at auction on Friday, May 19. The day will be divided into two parts: Fine Prints & Photographs at 12PM and Fine Paintings & Sculpture at 4PM. The auction offers an extensive variety of paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs, and works on paper ranging from Old Master prints through Modern and Contemporary offerings.


The variety of prints is impressive, with multiple examples by such notable figures in 20th century art as Childe Hassam, Pablo Picasso, Alex Katz, Thomas Hart Benton, Romare Bearden, Marc Chagall, and Robert Motherwell.

Matisse’s Marie-José en robe jaune (Lot 95, Estimated between $50,000-80,000) is a standout highlight in the prints section of the auction. Robin Starr, Director of American & European Works of Art, says of this aquatint, “Matisse’s use of line and color takes the contemplative subject of a woman seated by a table with a book open on her lap, and turns it into something animated and vigorous.”


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) Leaves and Raindrops, Glacier Bay National Monument, c. 1948 (Lot 142, Estimate: $15,000-25,000)

The auction offers a broad range of subject matter, time, and geography. There are works by American icons Edward Curtis and Edward Steichen, examples from French, Swiss, Cuban, and Canadian photographers, and prints dating from the 1850s to the 2000s.

Michelle Lamunière, Fine Photographs Specialist, states that among the highlights are two mural-sized gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams. Leaves and Raindrops, Glacier Bay, c. 1948 (Lot 142, $15,000-25,000) displays his fascination with the details of the natural world. His choice of smooth, matte, double-weight paper emphasizes what Adams described in a 1940 article as “design, pattern, and sheer beauty of tonal relationships.”

Conversely, Walker Evans found beauty in very different subject matter. In a still life series made in the 1960s, Evans explored the debris on New York streets in eloquent close-ups (New York City Gutter, Lot 150, $3,000-5,000).

Images range from the exotic, John Beasley Greene’s 1850s salt print of View of Terrain near Gebel Abousir, Second Cataract, Egypt (Lot 124, $2,000-3,000), to the glamorous, Edward Steichen’s studio portrait of Florence Meyer Homolka (Lot 139, $3,000-5,000), to the bizarre, Philippe Halsman’s Marilyn/Mao (Lot, 145 $800-1,200).

Contemporary photography is well represented with images by Edward Burtynsky, Abelardo Morell, Tseng Kwong Chi, John Coplans, and William Wegman.



Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) Grande Main Crispée Gauche (Large Clenched Left Hand) (Lot 301, Estimate: $120,000-180,000)

Leading the auction is Auguste Rodin’s Grande Main Crispée Gauche (Large Clenched Left Hand) (Lot 301, $120,000-180,000) originally modeled circa 1885, possibly as a study, later rejected, for his great sculpture The Burghers of Calais. This bronze exemplifies Rodin’s intense interest in the ability of hands to express a range of profound emotions.

Another standout sculpture is Alexander Calder’s  Untitled (Standing Mobile), c. 1953 (Lot 525, $100,000-150,000) and at only 3 inches high, displays the engineering skill, artistic genius and wit for which Calder is renowned.

Paul Revere, (Lot 294, $20,000-40,000) is a Cyrus Dallin sculpture of the Revolutionary War patriot. The 21-year-old Dallin won a competition for a monument to Revere to be placed near Boston’s historic Old North Church. He made seven different versions over many years. This bronze is one of only twelve made from an original plaster of the 1899 version in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Native-American themed pieces by contemporary sculptors Metz Castleberry and Dave McGary  are dynamic examples of a rich tradition best known through the work of Frederic Remington, represented in this auction by Sergeant, 1904 (Lot 293, $4,000-6,000).


Charles E. Prendergast (American, 1863-1948) Untitled (Vase with Flowers and Birds) (Lot 382, Estimate $30,000-50,000)

Chosen for the catalog cover is Charles Prendergast’s Untitled (Vase with Flowers and Birds), 1936 (Lot 382, $30,000-50,000). Rendered in tempera and gold leaf on an incised gessoed panel, the medium recalls the early Italian works that Prendergast admired. The style and subject matter are much influenced by American folk art, which Prendergast helped to popularize in the first half of the 20th century.

Portraits and figure studies are especially well represented. Examples range from Thomas Hudson’s mid-18th-century formal portraits of British gentry,  Mr. and Mrs. James Hilhouse (Lot 211, $20,000-30,000) to American artist Esperanza Gabay’s relaxed 1920 Woman Knitting in a Sunlit Bedroom (Lot 410, $15,000-20,000).

Abstract paintings make a strong showing. More than three dozen examples include works by:

• Robert Natkin, Berne Series RN 236 (Lot 517, $5,000-7,000)

• Konrad Cramer, Cubist Abstract with Palm Fronds (Lot 485, $8,000-12,000)

• Larry Zox, China Light (Lot 492, $8,000-12,000)

A collection of post-impressionist drawings from the estate of Elaine Sargent is another significant component of this auction, with examples from such well-known artists as Edouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy, Pierre Bonnard, and others.

Previews, Catalog, and Bidding

Auction previews are free and open to the public. They will be held in Skinner’s Boston gallery, 63 Park Plaza, on Wednesday, May 17, 12 – 5PM, Thursday, May 18, 12 – 8PM, and Friday, May 19, 9 – 10AM. The catalog is available for purchase from the Subscriptions Department at Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. Leave bids, and bid live, in real-time through SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Miami, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.



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