Auctions | May 22, 2014

Newly Discovered Winslow Homer Drawing Coming Up at Swann Galleries June 12


New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of American Art on Thursday, June 12 features important unique works by artists such as Will Barnet, Paul Cadmus, John La Farge, Guy Wiggins and Andrew Wyeth.

A selection of works from the collection of American painter/printmaker James D. Smillie—known for his engravings and landscape paintings—includes a recently discovered pen and ink drawing by Winslow Homer. Fresh Air, 1879, is a study from his seminal, same-titled watercolor now at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and was drawn by Homer to be illustrated in the American Watercolor Society's 12th annual exhibition catalogue. The plein air representation of a fancifully dressed shepherdess at Houghton Farm, the upstate New York property of one of Homer's patrons, is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000.


Exceeding that estimate is a classic New York City image by noted American Impressionist Guy C. Wiggins. His oil on canvas New York Skyline, from a Staten Island Ferry Boat, had been acquired directly from the artist by a relative of the current owners (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).

A run of choice drawings by Paul Cadmus includes fine examples from his late-career Nantucket Man series, such as Seated Male Nude (NM 96), color pastels and charcoal on paper, 1972 ($30,000 to $50,000) and Sleeping Male Nude (NM 254), color crayons on Canson paper, 1993, with a color crayon drawing of a reclining nude on the reverse ($20,000 to $30,000). Additional drawings by Cadmus include an image of fellow artist Jared French Reading, pen and ink on paper, circa 1930 ($6,000 to $9,000) and others.

A work by French is also featured in the auction: Mediterranean Street Corner, caseine tempera on masonite, 1954 ($10,000 to $15,000).

Among notable portraits are Andrew Wyeth’s Portrait of Alfred Porter, pencil on paper, 1973, which will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Wyeth's work. Porter was an acquaintance of Wyeth’s who shared his interest in Stutz cars ($15,000 to $20,000); and a James Montgomery Flagg—of I Want You poster fame—oil on canvas of American artist Thalia Westcott (Mrs. Stephen Caldwell Millett), 1902 ($8,000 to $12,000).

More fanciful is Will Barnet’s Play, watercolor and oil on paper, 1975, an image of a female nude reclining in a tree near two cats, which reflects the artist’s mature style, i.e. the influence of Renaissance painting, traditional Japanese color woodcuts and American Pop Art. Play was developed into a color lithograph by Barnet in 1975, but the print differs from the current watercolor in that the woman in the tree is clothed and the background is a gradated, color rainbow pattern ($30,000 to $50,000). Two other works by Barnet—from his abstract period—are also offered in the auction.

A selection of works by John La Farge includes his well-known Study of Reef, Tautira, Tahiti, watercolor and gouache on paper, circa 1891 ($10,000 to $15,000); The Sphinx, gouache, watercolor and black chalk on paper, 1864-65, which is one of a number of works La Farge made to illustrate the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem ($7,000 to $10,000); and Chinese Pitong Inlaid with Ivory, Mother-of-Pearl and Stones, pen and ink and gouache on paper mounted on card stock, circa 1879, from the Smillie collection ($3,000 to $5,000).

There is a fine example of Preston Dickenson’s work, The Peters Mills, brush and ink and wash and color pastels with pencil on paper mounted on card stock, 1924. Dickinson was associated with the American Precisionist movement and spent several months in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924, where he produced a series of ink and pastel drawings depicting the grain elevators and other structures of the M. C. Peters Mill Company industrial complex ($15,000 to $20,000).

Also featured are Miguel Covarrubias’s Ceremonial Kachina Dancer, tempera on paper ($10,000 to $15,000); Hanson Duvall Puthuff’s colorful representation of the Southern California desert, Enchanted Evening, oil on board ($10,000 to $15,000); Milton Avery’s Seated Female Nude, color crayons and pen and ink on paper, 1957 ($10,000 to $15,000); Reginald Marsh’s Vaudeville Dancers on a Stage, watercolor and pen and ink and wash on paper, 1944 ($7,000 to $10,000) and Norman Rockwell’s Studies for The Family Tree, charcoal on paper mounted on board, 1959, a study for the October 24, 1959 cover of The Saturday Evening Post ($7,000 to $10,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 12.

The works will be on public exhibition Saturday, June 7, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, June 9 through Wednesday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Todd Weyman at (212) 254-4710, ext. 32, or via email at

Live online bidding is also available via

First image: Winslow Homer, Study: Fresh Air, pen and ink on paper, circa 1879. (Estimate: $40,000 to $60,000).

Second image: Guy C. Wiggins, New York Skyline, from a Staten Island Ferry Boat, oil on canvas. (Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).