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Old Masters through contemporary works at Skinner, May 18

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 04 May 2012 13:06

Georg Kolbe (German, 1877-1947), bronze, ‘Skizze zu Wolkenfahrt, 1925,’ monogrammed ‘GK’ within the cast on base, foundry stamped ‘H. NOACK/ BERLIN FRIEDENAU’ on the base. Estimate: $40,000-50,000. Skinner image.

BOSTON – Skinner, Inc. will auction prints, photographs, paintings and sculptures on Friday, May 18th in two sessions at its Boston gallery. The prints and photography portion of the sale will begin at 12 p.m.; paintings and sculptures at 4 p.m. Internet live bidding will be provided by during both sessions.

Fine Prints:

Skinner continues to experience strong growth with multiples and works on paper. The upcoming sale will present an excellent assortment of prints and photography. A fine selection of modern & contemporary works will be offered, spearheaded by works of Roy Lichtenstein and Paul Klee.

The cover lot is Roy Lichtenstein’s Imperfect Diptych. From 1986 to 1988 Lichtenstein created a series of works that collectively came to be known as the Imperfect Series. Each work in the series features tangram-like geometric shapes, in which one element projects beyond the normal frame of composition. Lichtenstein often used a method known as overprinting to saturate colors; the Mylar elements in these collages have a clear coat overprint to maintain the reflective qualities of these saturated portions. Lichtenstein’s Imperfect Diptych (lot 79, estimated between $20,000 and $30,000) is the 24th work in the series and is an excellent example of the techniques used throughout the series.

Paul Klee’s Höhe! (Height!) of 1928 (lot 73, $50,000 to $70,000) demonstrates the artist’s iconic visual vocabulary of fine lines to create a dream-like and whimsical image.

African-American Artists:

The sale also features an interesting group of fine paintings and prints by African-American artists such as Jacob Lawrence’s Lawyers and Clients (lot 76, $4,000 to $6,000) and an untitled color lithograph by Gene Davis (lot 37, $2,000 to $3,000). Also on offer are several paintings by Sam Gilliam including an acrylic and pastel on canvas titled Iceland I (lot 510, $20,000 to $30,000), and an untitled abstract (lot 509, $2,000 to $3,000).


Ansel Adams’s The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (lot 158, $35,000 to $45,000) represents one of many photography highlights. This work demonstrates Adams’s magnificent use of burning and dodging techniques to create the rich look of his iconic landscapes.

Adams inspired another photographer featured in the sale: Eliot Porter. A chance meeting with Adams and a subsequent meeting with Alfred Stieglitz prompted Porter to abandon a career as a research biologist to pursue photography. He eventually became a pioneer in dye transfer prints. Porter’s Certain Passages (lot 171, $3,500 to $4,000) is a portfolio comprised of eight landscapes that descended through the family of the artist. Harry Callahan’s Eleanor (lot 161, $12,000 to $18,000), an image of his muse, will also be offered.

Fine Paintings and Sculpture:

Fine paintings on offer range from Old Masters through contemporary works. Works from the 18th and 19th centuries include a strong group by Dutch and German Masters such as Jan Jacob Spohler, Hermann Herzog, Richard Zimmermann, and Hermann Baisch. Other highlights include a portrait attributed to Allan Ramsay (lot 208, $10,000 to $15,000) titled Portrait of a Lady Holding a Book of Verse; Eugène Louis Lami’s Equestrian Portrait of Louis Phillippe, King of France, 1830 (lot 210, $18,000 to $22,000); and Awaiting the Master by Wouterus Verschuur I (lot 244, $12,000 to $18,000).

Karel Appel’s Presque Une Joie (lot 517, $80,000 to $100,000) leads the 20th century works. The composition makes use of Appel’s signature texture: a thick impasto, often with paint applied directly from the tube. While the present work is not explicitly figurative, its title [“Almost a Joy”] refers to the human condition in terms of melancholy. For Appel, despair was always a counterpart to joy, but the speed with which it could change from one to the other was emblematic of the modern world. Two op-art pieces by Victor Vasarely (lots 528 & 529, both $25,000 to $35,000) will also be auctioned.

A bronze cast by George Kolbe, Skizze zu Wolkenfahrt (lot 501, $40,000 to $50,000), depicting Dante’s tragic lovers Paolo and Francesca, highlights the fine sculpture offered in the sale.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at

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View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to


 Georg Kolbe (German, 1877-1947), bronze, ‘Skizze zu Wolkenfahrt, 1925,’ monogrammed ‘GK’ within the cast on base, foundry stamped ‘H. NOACK/ BERLIN FRIEDENAU’ on the base. Estimate: $40,000-50,000. Skinner image.

Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940), etching on paper titled and dated ‘1928 J9...’ in pencil, Estimate:$50,000-70,000. Skinner image. 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984), gelatin silver print,‘The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942.’ Signed ‘Ansel Adams’ in pencil on the mount. Estimate:$35,000-45,000. Skinner image.

Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921-2006), oil on canvas, ‘Presque Une Joie,’ dated and signed ‘1960 Appel.’ Estimate:$80,000-100,000. Skinner image.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 May 2012 13:14

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