Purchase Story

American Paintings, Furniture, and Decorative Arts

Doyle, New York City

Photos courtesy Doyle

Doyle’s spring auction of American paintings, furniture, and decorative arts on March 27 offered over 400 lots, and the hours-long sale totaled $998,281 (including buyers’ premiums) with a sell-through rate of 81%. The presale estimate for the total sale was $954,450/1,446,900.

There were 15 to 20 people in the salesroom during the morning and afternoon. Some bids came from the floor, but most were made online and on the phones, the usual scenario at many auction houses these days.

The first part of the sale, 145 paintings and 17 prints, totaled $567,438 with 65% sold by lot. The presale estimate was $683,200/1,037,200.

The top-selling lot of the sale was Venice (The Splendor of Venice) by Thomas Moran (1837-1926), painted in 1899. The 20" x 30⅛" oil on canvas, signed and dated, sold for $193,750 (est. $100,000/150,000) to a phone bidder. Two other phone bidders chased it.

A vase of apple blossoms is depicted in Remember Me by Shepard Alonzo Mount (1804-1868). From the William and Abigail Gerdts collection, the 12" x 8½" oil on panel, signed and dated 1866, sold to an online bidder for $5625 (est. $2000/4000).

King Bird by James Bard (1815-1897) signed, dated, and inscribed “Picture Drawn & Painted by James Bard, 1855. / 162 Perry St. New York,” sold to an online bidder for $37,500. The 29½" x 52" oil on canvas laid to masonite, from the estate of Joan Harmon Van Metre, The Plains, Virginia, was estimated at $40,000/60,000.

Included in the paintings section was property from the collection of William and Abigail Gerdts, art historians who collected mid- to late 19th-century still-life paintings by American artists, including Ralph Albert Blakelock, George Henry Hall, Shepard Alonzo Mount, and William Hubacek. The Gerdtses are in the process of dispersing much of their collection in preparation for a move from New York City to the country, according to Doyle. Some of the 26 lots offered included still-life paintings by artists who were active outside of New York—for example, in Fall River, Massachusetts; Bangor, Maine; Bordentown, New Jersey; and Dayton, Ohio.

The top-selling painting was Venice (The Splendor of Venice) by Thomas Moran (1837-1926). Painted in 1899, it sold to a phone bidder for $193,750. The signed and dated oil on canvas, 20" x 30⅛", had an estimate of $100,000/150,000.

The furniture and decorative arts section of the sale achieved better results, with a sale total of $430,844 on a presale estimate of $271,250/409,700. There were 252 lots auctioned and 228 of them sold, for a 91% sell-through rate.

The three-day exhibition preview drew a crowd. Doyle’s staff is accessible and friendly, and many previewers are on a first-name basis with the specialists. The atmosphere is laid-back yet professional.

Doyle will hold its next American paintings, furniture, and decorative arts sale in the fall. Further information is available at (www.doyle.com).


These two carved and painted Gustav and William Dentzel carousel horses, one an outer row stander, the other a stander, sold to Oxford, Maryland, antiques dealer Rusty Donohue of Americana Antiques, who was bidding in the salesroom. He paid $4375 (est. $6000/8000) and $4687 (est. $6000/8000) respectively. The horses were property from a private collector in Red Bank, New Jersey. Donohue said the white barrel-chested horse is from circa 1895. The brown and white horse dates from 1900-10, he said, but its trappings had been removed and used as a display for a saddle maker and then recarved. He paid “a fraction of what the horses would have brought ten years ago,” he said in a telephone interview, noting, however, that collectors continue to buy. “It’s still folk art,” he said, pointing out that the American Folk Art Museum’s current exhibition Made in New York City includes a camel from Brooklyn and a horse from Coney Island.

Pansies on a Ledge by William Hubacek (1871-1958), signed and dated 1894, sold to an absentee bidder for $5312 (est. $4000/6000). The 9½" x 13½" oil on canvas, from the collection of William and Abigail Gerdts, had sold at Bonhams in San Francisco on December 12, 2005, for $4700, according to a Bonhams spokesperson.

This silver ewer by Samuel Kirk, Baltimore, 1830-46, sold for $5000 (est. $800/1200) to an absentee bidder. The ewer, 12⅜" high, approximately 37 ounces, is on a pedestal foot; the body is chased with a band of acanthus at the base and a floral band at the shoulder, with flowers, shells, and a mask under the spout.

Antonio Jacobsen (Danish/American, 1850-1921) painted this ship’s portrait of the S.S. Old Dominion in 1902. Signed, dated, and inscribed “31 Palisade Av West Hoboken NJ,” the 22" x 36" oil on canvas sold for $15,000 (est. $8000/12,000) to an absentee bidder.

A turkey platter from the Rutherford B. Hayes White House administration service sold for $17,500 to an absentee bidder. The circa 1880 Haviland Limoges hand-painted porcelain platter, designed by Theodore Russell Davis (1840-1894), had an estimate of $6000/9000. Painted with an eagle on the underside, fully marked, the 20" long platter came from the estate of James W. Smith, whose sporting art collection sold at Doyle in February.

This Queen Anne walnut side chair, Philadelphia, 42" x 20¾" x 16", sold to an online bidder for $5625 (est. $1500/2500).

This copper and zinc weathervane in the form of the angel Gabriel sold for $5625 (est. $3000/4000) to a phone bidder. Property of a private collector, Long Island, the 22¼" tall x 23" wide weathervane is attributed to L.W. Cushing and Son, Waltham, Massachusetts, circa 1880. An online bidder was the underbidder.

The Cabbage Picker by Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940) elicited bids from a salesroom bidder and one online. The 17" x 38" oil on canvas, signed and dated 1883, sold to the online bidder for $11,250 (est. $5000/7000).

Two bidders in the room and one on the phone went after this painted pine dower chest, Pennsylvania, first half of the 19th century. The 23½” x 34" x 18¾" chest, painted with pinwheel decoration above a mid-molding and base drawer, sold for $1625 (est. $600/900) to the phone bidder.

Roses by George Cochran Lambdin (1830-1896), signed and dated 1876, oil on panel, 24" x 11¾", sold to an online bidder for $4375 (est. $4000/6000).

Estimated at $12,000/20,000, this Herter Brothers Aesthetic Movement center table, rosewood, marquetry, and parcel-gilt inlay, sold for $28,125 to a phone bidder. Stamped “Herter Bros” under the top, the table measures 29½" x 49" x 31". It came from a Long Island family that had owned it since the early 20th century, said David A. Gallager, Doyle’s director of American furniture and decorative arts. There is a similar table in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, according to an entry in Doyle’s catalog.

Hanging Bunches of Grapes by George Henry Hall (1825-1913), signed and dated 1882, from the William and Abigail Gerdts collection, sold to a phone bidder for $2812. The 9¼" x 6⅜" oil on canvas had an estimate of $1500/2500.

There were lots of bids for this Queen Anne carved walnut dressing table, which sold for $3437 to an absentee bidder. The 30" x 34¾" x 22¼" carved walnut table with a scalloped shaped top had an estimate of $800/1200.

This still life by James Peale (1749-1831), Still Life Fruit in a Pierced Porcelain Basket, 16¼" x 22¼", sold to a phone bidder for $11,875. The oil on canvas, with provenance of Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York City, 1972, had an estimate of $12,000/18,000.

The Owl’s Reprimand by William Holbrook Beard (1824-1900), signed and dated 1859, sold for $16,250 to an absentee bidder. The 15" x 21" oil on canvas, property of a private Maryland collector, with provenance of the estate of Mrs. W. H. Beard, had an estimate of $10,000/15,000.


Originally published in the June 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest

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