Auctions | September 5, 2018

Prints, Photographs, and Paintings at Skinner on September 21

Boston, MA — On Friday, September 21, Skinner presents an outstanding two-session auction of Prints, Multiples & Photographs and Paintings & Sculpture with over 350 lots spanning Old Masters through contemporary offerings. Robin S. R. Starr, Vice President and Director of American & European Works of Art, notes, "We're excited about the depth and breadth of the works in the September auction, from a rediscovered Gérôme masterpiece to a considerable number of fresh to the market works from private collections, including of the composer, lyricist, author, playwright, recording artist, and performer, Dory Previn." 

Paintings & Sculpture

The marquee lot of the sale is by Jean-Léon Gérôme. This newly rediscovered orientalist painting called Evening Prayer (Lot 266, Estimate: $400,000-600,000) has been described as a "perfected" version of one of Gérôme's most evocative compositions, showing Muslim men at prayer on a Cairo rooftop. With all of the technical hallmarks and intellectual nuances of his art, it has recently been confirmed as an original work by his hand, and returned to the artist's oeuvre. It has not appeared at auction since it was sold at the Christie, Manson and Woods, London, Modern Pictures auction on May 5, 1888. 

Other notable 19th-century works include Twilight on the Terrace by Julius Leblanc Stewart (Lot 219, Estimate: $150,000-250,000).  From a private collection, this major painting by expatriate artist Julius Stewart, dated 1877, shows elegant figures at leisure on a terrace with a twilight view of Paris in the distance. The three women wear handsomely painted dresses of satin and lace, and exotic details such as the colorful parrots and Japanese parasol add to the opulence of the scene. Stewart studied for a time with Jean-Léon Gérôme and accompanied him on a trip to Egypt in 1874. Starr notes, "The rediscovered Gérôme is such a rare and wonderful find; and to be able to present it with Stewart’s work - also previously hidden away in private hands - gives us a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between master and student.”

A highlight among the offerings of Modern & Contemporary works is by Louise Nevelson, a leading figure in 20th-century American sculpture. Nevelson is represented by a maquette for the monumental sculpture Sky Landscape I (Lot 373, Estimate: $50,000-70,000). The 30-inch tall welded steel piece displays the elegance of Nevelson's smooth opaque black surfaces and the balanced fusion of her geometric angles and anthropomorphic curves. The monumental version of Sky Landscape I is currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park.

Other featured works include:

  • A John La Farge watercolor A Torii on Lake Chuzenji, Japan (Lot 263, Estimate: $20,000-40,000)
  • From the collection of Dory Previn, Charles Demuth's Blue Hat (Lot 333, Estimate: $20,000-30,000) and John French Sloan's White House, Pennsylvania (Lot 335, Estimate: $15,000-20,000)
  • Two works by Jesús Rafael Soto, Estela Doble Faz (Lot 386, Estimate: $10,000-15,000) and Blanc et Couleur (Lot 387, Estimate: $15,000-20,000) 
  • Tom Wesselmann's Study for Sunset Nude (Two Legs Up) (Lot 370, Estimate: $8,000-12,000)

Prints & Multiples

Features work from the old masters to the 21st century, and is especially strong in 20th-century works. Leading the group is Andy Warhol’s Portraits of the Artists (Lot 108, Estimate: $25,000-35,000); a group of 100 colorful screen printed polystyrene boxes depicting a veritable who’s who of New York’s 1960s art scene. The auction features two groups of prints - one by Joan Miró and the other by Rockwell Kent. Both show the broad ranges and talents of these two artists. The collection of Miró prints includes lithographs and intaglios from small, intimate compositions like the plate from the Ubu Roi suite (Lot 75, Estimate: $2,500-3,500) and large-scale iconic images with heavy carborundum like Le matador (Lot 77, Estimate $25,000-35,000) and La fronde (Lot 76, Estimate: $20,000-30,000). The Kent works likewise feature a variety of media, and include Starlight (Lot 24, Estimate $2,500-3,500) and Forest Pool (Lot 21, Estimate $1,500-2,500), two of his most highly coveted wood engravings.

Other featured works include:

  • Pierre-August Renoir’s Enfants jouant à la balle, a joyous color lithograph (Lot 7, Estimate $20,000-30,000)
  • Henri Matisse’s Danseuse endormie, one of many images of a dancer from the late 1920s (Lot 6, Estimate $5,000-7,000)
  • Several ceramic works by Pablo Picasso, including Four Enlaced Profiles, 1949 (Lot 90, Estimate $7,000-9,000)
  • Martin Lewis’s brooding aquatint Wet Night, Route 6 (Lot 33, Estimate $6,000-8,000)
  • Childe Hassam's quiet portrait of his wife at work titled The Writing Desk, 1915 (Lot 20, Estimate $5,000-7,000)


A range of 20th-century and contemporary works by such masters as Ansel Adams, Lewis Baltz, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nan Goldin, Kenneth Josephson, Daido Moriyama, and others are on offer. Highlights include:

  • Ansel Adams’s iconic winter scene Oak Tree, Snow Storm, Yosemite Valley, from 1948, printed c. 1963-1970 (lot 127, $8,000-12,000)
  • Lewis Baltz’s North Wall, Niguel Hardware, 26087 Getty Drive, Laguna Niguel (Lot 145, Estimate: $12,000-18,000) from the series The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California, in which Baltz explores the effects of twentieth-century culture and suburban development on the country’s topography
  • Two works by Nan Goldin—Greer and Robert on the Bed, New York (Lot 155, $8,000-12,000) and Dieter and Wolfgang at the O-Bar, West Berlin (Lot 156, Estimate: $3,000-5,000)

Previews, Gallery Events, and Catalogs

Previews for the auction will be in our Boston Gallery on Wednesday, September 19: 12pm-5pm and Thursday, September 20: 12pm-8pm.  Free and open to the public, department specialists will be available to answer questions about the material and participating at auction. Join us for an EVENT... The fully illustrated print catalog may be purchased on the Skinner website or by phone order at 508-970-3234.