Queen City has artful heritage

Kentucky artists topped the sale this year at Stuart Holman's Spring Select Auction, on April 29 in Cincinnati. Holman holds his Select Auctions twice a year, featuring fine antique furniture and decorative arts, with an emphasis on the strong artistic heritage of the Cincinnati area. From the offering of over 140 paintings, one of the sale's top lots was a watercolor painting of Elkhorn Creek by Paul Sawyier, a painter with Kentucky roots and connections to Cincinnati, New York and New Orleans. The 9in by 16in Elkhorn Creek painting brought $8,250, including 10% buyer's premium. An allegorical 16in by 12in oil on board, titled Angel of Water, by Kentucky poet and painter Henry Faulkner, sold for $8,030.

Stepping outside the regional offering, two Austrian bronze lamps generated considerable interest. The larger example, a grotto scene with a reclining Arab and female musician under a domed and columned building, 18in high, was hammered at $8,250. A tent-form lamp, with an Arab seated before a coffee pot on a bed of coals, 13in high, landed at $6,875.

Holman reported a good response to his offering from the school of the Cincinnati Art Carvers. He sold a letter opener, fully carved with grapes, leaves, scrolled handle, and a fully standing black bear, and signed by a key member of the Carvers, William Fry, for $5,775. A hanging cabinet, deeply carved with flowers and geometric patterns, also brought $5,775. A pair of bronze candlesticks in a seahorse motif, by E.T. Hurley, was an example of Cincinnati metalworking and sold for $1,760.

Paintings by Cincinnati artists were a strong attraction of the auction, including four by Thomas Corwin Lindsay. Two oils with cows both brought $5,225: an 18in by 22in landscape on board, and a 16in by 24in trough scene on canvas. The other two Lindsay oils were a hunting dog scene, 10in by 12in, for $3,575, and a shepherd with flock, 20in by 16in, for $2,970. A small portrait by Dixie Selden landed at $3,300. Two works by Rookwood Pottery artist Martin Rettig did well: an Indian encampment, 10in by 12in gouache, reached $1,870, and a 24in by 22in oil on canvas still life made $1,210. A Charles Salis Kaelin Rockport harbor pastel fetched $1,870, and a monastery courtyard by Louis Charles Vogt, 8in by 11in oil on board, was hammered at $1,650.

Other listed American artists of note included John Califano, whose still life with watermelon, oil on canvas 14in by 20in, sold well above estimate at $4,400. A winter landscape gouache by Willard Metcalf made $4,125. An abstract oil on canvas by Robert Kitaj landed at $2,750. Paul Strisik's oil on board of Rockport breakers fetched $1,980.

European artists also fared well. An abstract watercolor by Austrian painter Markus Prachensky rose to $2,750, while a traditional pastoral oil by Arthur de Waerhert of Belgium reached $1,760. Bidding was spirited on a portrait of a mother with child by Kathe Kollwitz of Germany, ending at $1,650 for the etching. A Maecenas Press edition of Alice in Wonderland, with woodcut illustrations by Salvador Dali, known as The Dali Alice, sold for $2,200.

Leading furniture sales was a small Louis XVI style two-tiered oval table, with four cherubs holding an alabaster upper tier. A phone bidder purchased it for $3,570. An English mahogany chest on chest, c.1800, sold for $3,300. A New England cherry Hepplewhite bow front four-drawer chest, c.1790, made $2,640.

An 11in Grueby vase sold for $2,640. A pair of Rookwood wax matt vases with matching floral decoration by Margaret McDonald brought $2,530 despite a small base chip to one. Four stained glass window panels, with connecting patterns of vines and blossoms, came together for $1,430. A matching arched window, 71in high, reached $1,320. Another decorative architectural item in the sale was a walnut fireplace cornice, intricately carved with steer skulls, draperies, pods and blossoms, selling for $2,090. A Seth Thomas Regulator #6 wall clock landed at $1,760. A Dresden hand painted porcelain portrait vase with a beautiful woman was hammered at $1,650.

Louis XV style table: $3,570

Austrian bronze "tent" lamp: $6,875

Grueby, 11": $2,640

Paul Sawyier, watercolor, 9" x 16": $8,250

Henry Faulkner, oil on board, 16" x 12": $8,030

Austrian bronze "grotto" lamp, 18"h: $8,250

Cincinnati Art Carved hanging cabinet: $5,775

T.C. Lindsay, oil on board, 18" x 22": $5,225

T.C. Lindsay, oil on canvas, 18" x 22": $5,225