Works by Grigory Gluckmann and Irving Ramsey Wiles Also Achieve Strong

On November 12, 2008, Doyle New York held an auction of American Art. The sale showcased works by a wide variety of prominent American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Highlighting the sale was a masterful Still Life by Thomas Badger (1792-1868) that achieved $74,500. Also favored at the auction were Grigory Gluckmann's (1898-1973) After the Lesson, which sold for $68,500, and Irving Ramsey Wiles's (1861-1948) The Dock, circa 1927, which fetched $62,500.

May 2008

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Lot 1213
Thomas Badger
American, 1792-1868
Still Life
Signed Painted by T. Badger (ll)
Oil on panel
18 1/4 x 24 inches
Sold for $74,500

Thomas Badger, trained by the Boston ornamental artist, John Ritto Penniman, was a well-regarded portrait painter and miniaturist. Born in Massachusetts, he worked most of his life in Boston, while making frequent trips to Maine where he was active from the 1830s through the 1850s. Badger exhibited portraits at the Boston Athenaeum's annual exhibitions, as well as New York's National Academy of Design. He died in nearby Cambridge.

Badger's portraits are competent, professional works but it is his small body of still-life paintings that, in recent years, have garnered serious attention from scholars, collectors, and museums. Professional still-life painting began in America only in the second decade of the nineteenth century, and for the first twenty years was practiced almost entirely only by members of Philadelphia's famous Peale family, especially by Raphaelle Peale, his uncle James Peale, and by several of James's daughters, most notably Sarah Miriam and Margaretta Angelica Peale. Just about no other American painter of the first three decades of the nineteenth century devoted him- or herself to traditional still-life painting, and only rare examples of the theme are known by a few artists such as John Archibald Woodside, Robert Street, John Johnston, and Charles Bird King.

The one exception to this paucity of still-life painting is the work of Thomas Badger. Though the number of his still lifes remains rare - he was, after all, primarily a portrait painter - a solid body of work in this genre has emerged, and offers true distinction, both constituting a personal aesthetic and one very different from the contemporaneous work of the Peale family. Though Badger could have seen work by James and Raphaelle Peale at the exhibitions held at the Boston Athenaeum beginning in 1827, he appears to have evolved his own approach to the subject long before such works were available to him. Furthermore, Badger's still lifes exhibit characteristics inimical to the Peale tradition. Though like the Peales, he concentrated on fruit subjects - flower pictures would not become popular in America until the later 1840s - Badger's compositions are much fuller and more lush than those of the Peales. While the Peales strove for simplicity, Badger presents abundance. Furthermore, while the typical Peale still life arrangement rests on some kind of board or elongated table - there is no way to tell for sure the nature of the support for their subjects - Badger preferred a variety of more "elegant" supports - sometimes crisply painted, immaculately white tablecloths, sometimes a well-polished wooden table, or, as here, a thick piece of grained gray marble, which in turn rests upon a handsome wooden support. In addition to the bright, even glowing depiction of the fruit he painted, especially distinctive was Badger's introduction of two favorite fruit motifs - the sliced watermelon but even more, the "bomb"-like form of the melon, inserted on a diagonal, which may almost be considered the artist's signature.

Badger appears to have begun painting still lifes early in his career, and may even have considered choosing this as a direction for his artistry along with portraiture (he is known to have painted portraits as early as 1814). He began exhibiting fruit still lifes at the American Academy of the Fine Arts in New York City in 1817, and continued to do so in 1819 and again in 1826. The earliest dated still life by Badger to come to light today was completed in January 1818, contemporary with Raphaelle Peale and before James Peale turned to this theme. Though relatively few in number, Badger was certainly the earliest Boston artist to be attracted to the still-life subject and all those which have come to light exhibit a mastery of the theme. Whether he continued to paint still-lifes throughout his career is not known; Badger has not yet been the subject of extensive scholarship, except for an exhibition and catalogue of the portraits he painted in Kennebunk, Maine, held in 1964, for which a small catalogue was published. He did exhibit fruit pieces at the early Boston Museum and Gallery of the Fine Arts in 1841 and again in 1847, though whether these were recent works or pictures he had painted early in his career is not known. The respect and admiration for Badger's contribution to the art of still-life painting in America finds testimonial in their representation in such institutions as the Colby College Museum of Art, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.

This is, indeed, a rare and worthy example of American still-life painting. We are grateful to William H. Gerdts, author of American Still Life Painting and Senior Advisor in American Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, for contributing this catalogue essay.

Lot 1267
Grigory Gluckmann
American, 1898-1973
After the Lesson
Signed Gluckmann (lr)
Oil on panel
16 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches
Sold for $68,500

Lot 1251
Irving Ramsey Wiles
American, 1861-1948
The Dock, circa 1927
Signed I...Wiles (ll); inscribed on an old label affixed to the frame The Dock/Irving Wiles, Peconic, Long Island/N.Y./20 x 26; stamped Ex. P.A.F.A., inscribed CM 3021 and N.A.D./Pa Acad/Milch/Macbeth/Nat.Arts/Club on the stretcher
Oil on canvas
20 1/4 x 26 inches
The artist
Emma Austin Yawkey Gardner Ouerbacker, Louisville, KY; thence by descent to the current owner
New York, National Academy of Design
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1928, #258, The Dock
New York, Macbeth Gallery
New York, National Arts Club
P. Jackson Higgs, Inc. Gallery, New York, 1933
Sold for $62,500

Irving Wiles found refuge at his home and studio, "The Mooring," on Indian Neck in Peconic, Long Island, where he summered beginning in 1895. The tranquil countryside and scenic waterways of the bucolic North Fork offered abundant inspiration for an artist actively engaged during the winter months as a skilled and fluid portraitist.

The present work depicts the Wiles family dock, with the artist's daughter, Gladys, a frequent model for her father, gazing into the sparkling waters of Peconic Bay. The land visible at the horizon is likely Shelter Island. In the distance are what appear to be Wiles's own yawl - a two-masted sailboat - as well as the runabout used by Gladys herself. Both vessels, as well as the Wiles dock, are also depicted in The Gale, another work of the same period, reproduced in International Studio (November, 1927, p. 63).

In November, 1927, Dana H. Carroll discussed Wiles's marine paintings and praised his knowledge of sailing ships in an article in International Studio: "Whenever a person with a feeling of sympathy toward the sea has come upon one of the rarely exhibited marine paintings by this portrait-painter, the observer has stopped, looked and listened - listened for a sharp order to sailors or for the music of a sailors' chantey, or even for the moaning of the tide." (Dana Carroll, "The Marine Paintings of Irving Wiles," International Studio, November 1927, pp. 61-65. The artist's personal copy of the article is held in the Wiles Family Collection of Papers, Southold Historical Society, Southold, New York.)

Related both chronologically and conceptually to the works discussed in the article, The Dock was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1928. It is listed on page 144 of the artist's handwritten notebook, Records of Sales - Portraits & Pictures 1910-1948 (Collection of the Southold Historical Society, Southold, Suffolk County, New York).

We are grateful to the Southold Historical Society and its Director, Geoffrey K. Fleming for so generously sharing archival information and assisting in cataloguing this lot.

Lot 1253
Bruce Crane
American, 1857-1937
Winter, 1917
Signed Bruce Crane and inscribed copyright by S. T. Shaw 1918 (ll);
inscribed Samuel T. Shaw on frame and titled Winter on a Salmagundi Club label on the reverse
Oil on canvas
26 x 24 inches
Samuel T. Shaw, New York
New York, Salmagundi Club, March 12-24, 1917
Property from the Estate of Anton Schutz
Sold for $31,250

This elegant winter scene was awarded the Samuel T. Shaw Purchase Prize when it was shown at the Salmagundi Club in 1917. For fifty years, Shaw sponsored the award, along with an eagerly anticipated dinner party for the artists in competition. In keeping with tradition, the party commemorating Crane's award took place the following year, on March 7, 1918. The year Crane won the prize, its value was increased from $500 to $1,000. Award-winning works became part of Shaw's extensive personal collection, which was dispersed after his death.

Samuel T. Shaw (1861-1945) was the proprietor of the Grand Union Hotel on the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Park Avenue, across from Grand Central Terminal. An art collector and patron of living artists, Shaw hung the hotel walls with his personal collection of works by American painters. He was closely associated with the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Artists, and the National Academy of Design, and awarded cash prizes for the best picture at the annual exhibitions held by those institutions.

A commercial photographer was engaged to make a panoramic group portrait of the jovial and formally dressed painters at their dinner table. At the center of each photograph appear two easily identifiable men: the award-winning artist from the previous year (his head bedecked with a laurel wreath), and their great patron, the bearded, white-haired (and usually unjacketed) Samuel T. Shaw, often sitting beneath the Club's portrait of Shaw by Wayman Adams.

Lot 1229
William Aiken Walker
American, 1838-1921
Cabin Scene with Family
Signed with conjoined capital initials WAWalker (ll)
Oil on panel
6 1/8 x 12 1/4 inches
A letter of authentication from Robert M. Hicklin, Jr. accompanies this lot.

Sold for $22,500

The distinctive listing chimney supported by wooden poles in the present composition is characteristic of the work of William Aiken Walker. Chimneys were intentionally angled away from cabins such as the one seen here. In the event of fire, a common occurrence with ramshackle construction, the supporting poles could be pulled away so the burning smokestack would collapse away from the building, hopefully saving it from conflagration.

Lot 1263
David Burliuk
Russian/American, 1882-1967
Farmers (Man and Woman), 1945
Signed (lr) and dated 1945 (ll); inscribed on stretcher N.Y.C.
Oil on canvas
9 x 12 inches
Sold for $21,250

Lot 1244
Allen Dean Cochran
American, 1888-1971
Ladies by the Lake, 1912
Signed and dated Allen D. Cochran 1912 (lr)
Oil on canvas
39 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches
The artist; thence by descent to the present owner
Sold for $21,250

Lot 1256
Harrison Cady
American, 1877-1970
Slade's Store in the Great Smokies
Signed Harrison Cady (ll)
Oil on masonite
25 x 30 inches
Samuel T. Shaw, New York
New York, Salmagundi Club, Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings, February 15 - March 6, 1942, no. 76
This work was awarded the Samuel T. Shaw Purchase Prize when it was shown at the Salmagundi Club in 1942.
Property from Estate of Anton Schutz
Sold for $17,500

Lot 1218
Samuel Colman
American, 1832-1920
Cordoba, 1866
Signed S. Colman and dated '66 (ll)
Oil on panel
7 x 13 inches
Sold for $14,375

Samuel Colman was the first American artist to travel to and extensively depict Spain. Departing for a three-month sketching trip to the Iberian peninsula in early summer of 1860, he traveled from Gibraltar to Seville, and then to Granada by way of Cordoba, managing to stop at all the major sites in the south. He made several sketches in Cordoba, one of them picturing the city from the south, another delineating the Moorish mills on the banks of the Guadalquivir.

Colman moved on to Paris, where he shared a studio with George Boughton and commenced work on a series of paintings depicting the Rock of Gibraltar, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, and Seville. Spain remained the dominant theme in his work of the next seven years. Between 1862 and 1866, eleven of the subjects that he exhibited at the National Academy of Design were Spanish. [Mary Elizabeth Boone, Vistas de Espana: American Views of Art and Life in Spain, 1860-1914. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007, pp. 13-15.]

In 1871, Colman again traveled abroad, visiting Switzerland, North Africa, Italy, France, and Spain, returning to New York in 1876.