CRANSTON, RI – An oil on canvas landscape painting by Scottish-born abstract modernist William Gear (1915-1997), titled Landscape, May 50 (May Landscape, 1950), sold for $11,875, and a large oil on canvas depicting a maritime seascape of a brigantine ship at sea by Wesley Elbridge Webber (Am., 1841-1914) fetched $9,375 at the Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers November 25 sale. .
The 436-lot real estate, antiques, fine and decorative art auction was held at the Bruneau & Co. Gallery, located at 63 Fourth Avenue in Cranston, as well as online via Bidlive.Bruneauandco.com, Invaluable.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Bidsquare.com. Around 210 people attended the sale in person, while another 11,487 registered to bid online. Calls for tenders by telephone and correspondence were also taken.
As expected, the William Gear painting was the first lot in the auction, finishing atop an eclectic mix of goods including period furniture, fine art, sculpture, modern design, pottery of art, Waterford crystal, Baccarat chandeliers, fine Oriental rugs and rugs and other rare and unusual items from all over New England. In the end, the sale brought in a rather robust $187,285.
The Gear painting depicted an amalgamation of abstract naturalistic forms in an earthy palette against a gray background and was housed in a 33 inch by 26 ½ inch frame. The work was signed and dated in the lower right corner (and verso) and had a compelling history and provenance.
In 1950, the same year Gear painted Landscape, May 50, he left Paris, where he lived, for New York, in order to participate in a joint exhibition with his esteemed contemporary, Jackson Pollock. This would be Gear’s one and only US exhibit. In the United States, Gear met the woman who would be his future wife – Deborah Chertok – and he gave this painting to her sister.
Wesley Elbridge Webber’s maritime seascape painting was indeed large, at 50 inches by 80 inches (framed). It depicted a brigantine ship at sea, with the bow facing forward and a cutter ship trailing behind, with two steamships in the background. The painting, signed by Webber, also showed two figures in administrative uniform and a buoy in the water.
“The auction was a great way to end Thanksgiving weekend,” said Bruneau & Co. President Kevin Bruneau. “It was interesting to see such international interest in the landscape of William Gear and the pair of lithographs by James Rizzi as they were offered in the United States.”
He was referring to the two assemblages of cut-out three-dimensional lithographs by famous pop artist James Rizzi (NY, 1950-2011). A title Café-terrace (1987), depicts a bustling town with a cafe in the foreground ($4,062). The other, titled To fall (1988), showed city dwellers in a park, watching the foliage turn ($2,500). Both lithos were signed by the artist, titled and numbered.
Two works by Mexican muralists ended up in the list of top lots. One was a figurative bronze sculpture of a woman by Francisco Zuniga (1912-1998), 23 ¼ inches high on a bevelled black marble plinth ($4,062). The woman was depicted pregnant and barefoot, wearing a rebozo and a long skirt. The work was signed (“Zuniga”), dated (“1972”) and edited (4 out of 10).
The other was an oil on canvas laid down on Masonite by Manuel Herrera Cartalla (1915-1977). The painting depicted a violinist and his son, sitting dejectedly and barefoot on a gray blanket, each with blank, emotionless expressions ($2,812). The signed artwork measured 21 ½ inches by 27 inches, framed. Cartalla was a contemporary of the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957).
“This auction really illustrates the change in antique and fine art collectors and what they collect today,” said Bruneau & Co. auctioneer and scholar Travis Landry. The sculpture by Francisco Zuniga and the painting by Manuel Herrera Cartalla received astonishing attention from gallery viewers, just as if they were the two Wesley Webbers of 20 years ago.”
Two very different lots each had an identical sale price of $2,375. One was a large 19th-century Japanese giltwood folding screen, consisting of six panels decorated with a rickshaw holding a chunky two-handled vase with chrysanthemums and wisteria. Each panel measured 24 inches wide by 84 inches high – an impressive sight at 12 feet wide when open.
The other was a circa 1969 American-made Schwinn Stingray Pea Picker bicycle from the Krate series, introduced in 1968. The bicycle featured a five-speed Stik-shift center with spring suspension fork, saddle seat spring cushion and improved braking and braking. handling (compared to non-Krate series, standard Stingray model). The bike seemed like an original survivor.
A large abstract painting in oil and acrylic on canvas by Dominican modernist Candido Bido (1936-2011), titled The drama, signed and dated (1991), made $2,000. The work depicted two opposing female busts staggered in height, with an abstract-shaped bird in the foreground. The painting was executed in Dido’s iconic fiery yellow, turquoise blue and fiery orange palette.
Rounding out a few of the highlights of the sale is a 19th century Primitive American folk art pine hutch, consisting of a cabinet and a two-drawer low section with a beveled door front supporting a hanging shelf. several levels, cost $1,875. The 77 ½ inch high by 76 inch wide hutch was finished in black over red and was in overall good condition with just minor wear.
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers will be hosting a live-only DiscoverIt Estates auction (no online bidding) on Monday, December 11, and a live-only comic book and toy auction on Monday, December 18. To learn more about Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers and the firm’s calendar of upcoming events, visit www.bruneauandco.com. You can email Bruneau & Co. at [email protected].
# # # #