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SS/jl set 12-1

PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Freeman’s December 7 sale of Fine Paintings and Sculpture will feature the fourth annual sale of works by artists from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, an event which has quickly solidified as an obligatory stop for serious collectors of Pennsylvania Impressionists. Works by these artists continue to surge in popularity and in price, especially when snow figures in the scene, as is true for a number of landscapes in this sale.

The expected top lot is a highly-desirable winter scene by Edward Willis Redfield from a private consignor in Rhode Island. Freeman’s holds the record for Redfield’s work, having sold another winter scene, “The Village of Carversville”, for $519,500 in December of 2001. This Redfield depicts “The Old Mill, Washington’s Crossing”, and is estimated between $300 and $500,000.

Another of the leading members of the Pennsylvania Impressionist School, Walter Elmer Schofield, is represented by seven paintings. Five of the works were consigned by the family of the artist including “River in Winter” ($100/200,000), one of the finest examples of his work to appear at auction. Also attracting a great deal of pre-sale attention is a large 37 x 47 inch oil – “Montmartre” – depicting a corner café scene and probably painted by Schofield during his second trip to Europe in 1896.

Other Pennsylvania Impressionist works will include four paintings by Fern Coppedge, another painter for whom Freeman’s holds the world record, including “Near New Hope” ($40/60,000) depicting a winter scene with a stone bridge crossing a stream. Also notable are “The Old Shed”, “Rushland Quarry”, “Winter,” by Roy C. Nuse, five paintings by Walter Emerson Baum and three by Alfred Richard Mitchell.

Rounding out the Academy section will be four works by noted illustrator and “Red Rose Girl” Jessie Willcox Smith, led by two images of children at play – “Children at the Beach” and “The Young Tennis Player” – each estimated at $25/40,000.

Another example of illustration art, this one by Howard Pyle, will be the last lot in the American section of the sale. Pyle was commissioned by Harper & Brothers to produce five paintings relating to the works of William Makepeace Thackeray. All five would be used as frontispieces in Harper’s Monthly magazine, but were effectively “stand alone” artworks rather than illustrations. The painting in the sale, “Beatrix and Esmond” ($30/50,000), was published as the frontispiece in August 1906, and was proclaimed by Harper’s to be “the most notable work of the greatest of our illustrators.”

Two oils by Harry Leith-Ross, another much sought-after Pennsylvania Impressionist, include “Spring House 1938”, “Diabase Farm, New Hope, Pennsylvania”, ($8/12,000), and “The Bridge at New Hope”, a larger piece at 16 x 20 inches, ($10/15,000).

Freeman’s has had considerable success in the past with the sale of artists from the Hoosier School. Intense interest from Indiana, including a dozen phone bidders and many more on the internet, greeted Freeman’s first Hoosier offering in June of last year, resulting in a price of more than $75,000 for a landscape by Theodore Clement Steele. This result was followed by a world record $54,050 for another Hoosier, William Forsyth, in December of 2002. This sale will include another T.C. Steele oil, “Quiet Forest ($25/40,000), consigned by a Texas family, and a Forsyth (Sunlight in the Woods) which comes via descent through the artists’s family ($7/10,000).

Western art is represented by a fine watercolor of a cowboy on horseback by Charles Marion Russell, ($40/60,000), and collectors of California Impressionism will be interested in Alfred R. Mitchell’s small but charming view of the LaJolla coastline, as well as Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel’s “California Landscape” and William Louis Otte’s “Eucalyptus Trees at Twilight, Santa Barbara.

Other highlights include: Andrew Wyeth, “Shore Barrier,” black ink and wash drawing with scratching out, on card, ($25/40,000); Levi Wells Prentice, “Red Currants, oil on canvas, ($12/18,000); Edward Mitchell Bannister, Figure on a Pier,” oil on canvas, ($10/15,000); two oils by Emile Albert Gruppe, “Fish House, Florida” ($5/8,000) and “Langford Terrace, Florida, 1964 ($4/6,000); Ralph Cahoon, “Sailors and Mermaids”, oil on masonite, ($8/12,000); and three oils by another artist for whom Freeman’s holds the world record, John Fulton Folinsbee, “Beached Boat on the Maine Coastline ($15/25,000), “Island” ($12/18,000) and “Jersey Marshes ($8/12,000).

Much of the material in the substantial Modern section came from the estate of the late, noted Philadelphia collector Benjamin Bernstein. Having built the small moving company run by his father into one of the area’s most thriving transportation business, Quaker Moving Company, Bernstein became an active and important figure in the Philadelphia art scene, supporting such local talents as Seymour Remenick and Julius Bloch and serving as an influential member on the board of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The opening lot of the Modern section will be a bronze bust of Mr Bernstein, created by his friend Dame Elizabeth Frink.

Other sculptures include Crash Head ($5/8,000) by the British artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, a piece inspired by crash test dummies; Standing Diamond ($10/15,000) by Lynn Chadwick; and three sound sculptures by Harry Bertoia.

Two works by Fernand Leger are standouts from Mr Bernstein’s collection, with Composition with Bird, Head and Sun ($20/30,000) and La Clarinettiste ($18/25,000). Bernstein was also an avid collector of works from the CoBrA School, and the sale will feature examples by Jan Sierhuis, Henk Willemese, Eugene Brands, and, most notably, Anton Rooskens, whose “Indiaanese Motieven” is estimated at ($25/40,000) and “South Sea Motif” ($20/30,000).

The work by two modern Japanese artist, Genichiro Inokuma and Fumio Yoshimura, will include Inokuma’s “Broadway, Longest Street” ($10/15,000) and eleven of Yoshimura’s playful carved linden sculptures, each estimated to sell for between $200 and $1,000.

The sale will begin Sunday at 2 pm with European paintings, with an oil on canvas by Johann George Meyer von Bremen (“The Little Flower Girl”) estimated as the top lot at $30/50,000). Another highlight of this section, which includes work by British, French, Dutch and German painters, is the work of esteemed British watercolorist Myles Birket Foster, represented by “In the Garden” ($5/8,000) and “Children Feeding Ducks from a Punt ($4/6,000).

Catalogues are available for the $30 by calling 215-563-9275. A fully-illustrated and searchable catalogue also is available online at www.freemansauction.com.


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