Original Paintings and Drawings by Paul Cadmus & His Circle at Swann Galleries June 4

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New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of American Art on Thursday, June 4 features important works by Paul Cadmus and the artists in his circle, including Jared and Margaret French, Cadmus’s sister Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein and his father Egbert Cadmus, Pavel Tchelitchew, George Platt Lynes and George Tooker.

Headlining the group of works by Paul Cadmus is his 1936 painting Venus and Adonis, egg tempera and oil on canvas, property of the esteemed Forbes Collection in New York. Loosely based on the composition of Peter Paul Rubens’ 17th-century oil painting of the same subject, Cadmus’s Venus and Adonis are seemingly torn apart by the prospect of a tennis match: Adonis rushes off to play, clutching a racket in his right hand and two balls in his left while fending off his Venus. The painting, a satirical look at suburban life in the 1930s, is estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.

A large portion of the Cadmus-related material in the auction comes from the collection of Jon Anderson and Philis Raskind-Anderson of Connecticut. Jon Anderson met Cadmus by chance on Nantucket in 1964, and Anderson is the subject of Cadmus’s late-career Nantucket Man series-a group of accomplished drawings that explore all aspects of the male nude. This auction features a nude reclining on a sofa, Male Nude (NM5), color pastels and charcoal, 1965 (estimate: $70,000 to $100,000); Jon on Rocking Chair (NM274), colored pencils on black paper, 1996 ($12,000 to $18,000) and Sleeping Figure (NM 254), color crayon, 1993 ($20,000 to $30,000), among numerous other drawings.

Notable works by artists in Cadmus’s circle include Jared French’s Study of “Standing and Leaping Men,” pencil, late 1930s and his portrait of Paul Cadmus, pencil, brush and ink, 1944 ($20,000 to $30,000 and $12,000 to $18,000, respectively). PaJaMa photographs feature in the sale, the result of a two-decade-long collaboration between Paul Cadmus, Jared French and Margaret French in which they photographed themselves and others on Fire Island. The photographs today remain an important record of the artistic community on Fire Island in the 1930s and 40s.

Notable works by Guy C. Wiggins include a view of the New York Skyline, oil on canvas, a summer image of downtown Manhattan ($70,000 to $100,000) and two classic winter scenes: At the Plaza, New York and Snow Storm, New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue, both oil on board (each $10,000 to $15,000).

George Bellows is represented by a large India ink and wash drawing from 1921, The Black Hand, an illustration reproduced in The Century Magazine in 1921. The drawing, dedicated in the lower right corner, has been in a private family collection since being gifted by the artist. 

Several watercolors and pencil drawings by Charles Burchfield are featured in the auction, including The Haunted House, watercolor, 1918 ($10,000 to $15,000); The Coal Mine, 1919 ($12,000 to $18,000) and the cover lot for the auction, The Reflection on the Lake, 1917 ($12,000 to $18,000). Top in the group is The Freight Train, circa 1920, an image of a red train speeding through a winter landscape ($20,000 to $30,000).

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A fine example of Mary Nimmo Moran’s plein air work is The Garden Path, Easthampton, 1894 oil on artist’s board depicting a sun-speckled walkway on the south side of the artist’s home in East Hampton, Long Island. The house, known as the Thomas Moran House for the artist’s husband, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and still stands, though it is undergoing restoration.

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4.

The works will be on public exhibition Saturday, May 30, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, June 1 through Wednesday, June 3, 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 swanngalleries.com.

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 tweyman@swanngalleries.com.

Live online bidding is also available via Invaluable.com.

First image: Paul Cadmus, Venus and Adonis, egg tempera and oil on canvas, 1936. Estimate $200,000 to $300,000. 

Second image: Mary Nimmo Moran, The Garden Path, Easthampton, oil on artist's board, 1894. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000.

Auction Guide